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As summer progresses at a brisk pace, there are those who have already gotten their dose of vacation and those who, instead, chase after the idea of sunny beaches, diving into the sea and fiery sunsets. In Milan, where the heat can get quite stifling during summertime, the imposing architecture is a little claustrophobic for anyone. However, you should definitely know that there are some places that can console your desire to close your suitcase and pack your bags.
The imaginative drink lists proposed by these spots, made of chimeric combinations, often exotic ingredients, oriental and western twists, satisfy everyone’s tastes, from traditionalists to the most daring explorers of the Mixology universe – and are a one-way ticket to destinations near and far. Try the cocktails that we recommend and you’ll be transported to the south of France, Japan, Asia, Spain or even Polynesia.
In short, there is only one requirement that you will have to respect. You must be willing to leave. And, of course, to drink. Here is our selection.
EPPOL – Chantico
Via Malpighi, 7
One of the most prestigious clubs in the vast mixology panorama of the Milanese east side, this place was born from the alignment of creativity and intuition of Andrea Chiozzi and Sara Monza, with the help of Maximiliano Ruiz. Eppol is that bistro cocktail bar in Porta Venezia that immediately catches the eye because of its slightly modern, slightly retro style. It is at times a mirror of Milan, and at times of the Shoreditch of London. An elegance of the past that is combined with grunge, urban and modernity radiates here. This is an environment where green reigns: the flowers – always present – embellish the tables and the vertical garden is the background for drinks. The result is an urban jungle. The drink list of the moment is also the product of a mix between innovation and tradition. Premium products, spices, liqueurs and spirits (national and international) are masterfully mixed behind the counter. If you don’t believe it, then try Chantico, a “magic potion” of rum, mezcal, lime, grapefruit, roasted pineapple syrup, pimento dram habanero bitters, salt pepper crust and breadcrumbs. In addition to refreshing you, it will surely rid you of any misconceptions of the place…
KILBURN – Floral Spritz
Via Panfilo Castaldi, 25
The young Ennio Lettera sealed his love pact with Milan and London by opening the doors of Kilburn, This is a place that brought a British-style boost to the Milanese social district. Here, even if the drink lists change according to the course of the seasons, the story remains the same. Get ready for a sensory journey in the name of mixology. This summer, you can pay tribute to the good weather by tasting cocktails that captivate your eyes and palate. Our favorite for the season? The Floral Spritz, which is a refined reinterpretation of the usual spritz. However, Kilburn’s version almost resembles a painting, and bears the delicate colors of lavender flowers.
TIBI BISTROT PROVENÇAL – Helga
Via San Fermo, 1
Above all, the incurable romantics who dream of the French boulevards at night and go by day to hunt the atmosphere of the Alps in the Milanese capital go to the Tibi Bistrot Provençal. This place is, in fact, a concentrate of Provence. The colors and patterns of the furnishings, dishes and cocktails refer inexorably to the south of France. The new drink list, however, with numerous Japanese twists, also makes a pit stop in Japan. The alcoholic concoctions you will have give you the chance to taste a feast of unusual ingredients and homemade recipes. Helga, with kombu seaweed vodka, wasabi, sancho pepper, lime and tomato salt, is like Bloody Mary’s edgier twin. Prepare for an explosion of decidedly exotic flavors that are perfect for this summer.
RITA & COCKTAILS – Peppermelon Men
Via Fumagalli, 1
Since 2002, Rita & Cocktails has been a monument of the Navigli. It is an indispensable stop for the most daring explorers of mixology. This season, Leonardo Todisco has taken all his creativity and mixing skills and put them into a new drink list. Expect it to be fresh and exclusive, like the ingredients that are always strictly used. With a mix of homemade concoctions (fruit purees, syrups and infusions), quality spirits, fruit and curious combinations such as Peppermelon Men, – prepared with earl gray tea gin, watermelon, pepper and lime syrup – you are sure to feel invigorated.
MAG CAFÈ – Pomagda
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43
Here is the headquarters of the empire of cocktail bars designed by Flavio Angiolillo and his team. His majesty, the MAG Café, is a 1930s lounge that winks at the Naviglio Grande and anyone who wants to be amazed by extravagant drink lists. The latest idea, in this regard, was to create a paper menu similar to a mixology Bible that contains the flavors and traditions of 13 cities in different countries. Each cocktail, in fact, accompanied by a side or gadget, tells a destination with strokes of taste and words. If you are looking for inspiration for your next vacation, now you know where to go to find it. Pomagda, for example, is a reinterpretation of Pomada, which makes you feel exactly like you’re on the beach… in Menorca.
DHOLE – Regno di Lan Xang
Via Tiraboschi, 2
Italy meets Asia at number 2 in via Tiraboschi. The Dhole is a cocktail bar and restaurant that combines local and eastern gastronomic culture, using cuisine and mixology as one-way tickets for a trip to the Eastern Lands. The new drink list, in fact, from Central Asia leads to the Middle East, passing through the southeast, and makes us stumble in Chinese mythology, Shintoism, Hinduism, Japanese Buddhism and pagan rites. Then a little white pepper tequila, elderflower, kaffir lime and ginger ale in a glass are enough to find yourself in the Kingdom of Lan Xang.
BARBA – All the things she said
Via San Gregorio, 40
Al Barba, the last-born of the MAG Cafè family which also includes Iter, 1930 and Backdoor43, likes music a lot and has a passion for vinyl – so much so that the menus are brought to the tables in the form of 45s. Each drink list – thematic, ça va sans dire – changes periodically, rigorously celebrating from time to time the eras that made us dance the most. Currently, the rhythms that will follow your drinking are those from the 2000s. Therefore, do you remember “All the thing she said”? If not, go and refresh your memory with ketelone vodka, brancamenta, dark rum, mango, maracuja, lime and lemon.
ITER – Margarita di Savoia
Via Fusetti, 1
Once you enter via Fusetti, 1 you will certainly not find yourself on a plane departing abroad, but it will still be possible to travel with your mind and palate. Designed by the Angiolillo squad, Iter is a cocktail bar similar to a gastronomic airport that periodically changes furniture and food & beverage menus to let us explore a few slices of the world. For this summer, the destination is the south of France. The new menu reveals a city, an area, or a southern region of the country of love and it is among these pages that you will find the perfect cocktail for the summer. The Margarita di Savoia is made with nardini cedar, grand marnier, violent bitter, honey, lime and crust of Margherita salt with myrtle. It serves as a perfect mix of French and Italian flavors.
RITA’S TIKI ROOM – Mai Tai
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 69
This is a new place to check out in Milan, and it’s perfect for those who long for vacation. The Rita’s TIKI ROOM, brother of Rita & Cocktails and located opposite Naviglio Grande, is the new Caribbean-Polynesian style venue by Gianluca Chiaruttini and Edoardo Nono. The concept is inspired by the tiki culture that developed in California during the late thirties post prohibition era, and which saw the birth of countless places looking to escape from everyday life. This is an environment full of wood, bamboo, rope, plants, steel band music and Hawaiian shirts, where you can drink fantastic drinks accompanied by exotic dishes. Tiki blending is a world still to be explored in Italy, characterized mainly by rum, fruit such as mango, banana, papaya, coconut and spices. Among the signature drinks, the essential is the Mai Tai. It’s a blend of selected Caribbean rums, fresh lime, homemade barley and Orange Curaçao.