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Cocktail Pilgrim  Shane's cocktail bar pilgrimages ๐ŸŽณ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ’Ž Writer for #drinksinternational @dropsmagazine Owner of @questamiamilano and @pizzaefiga

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข @thebotanicalclub in Via Pastrengo first opened 3 years ago and is famous for being the first Italian bar to distill its own gin.ย Called Spleen et Ideal, the artisanal gin features 8 botanicals (juniper, angelica, coriander, green cardamom, rosebuds, iris, lime peel, mandarin peel). Entering Botanical in the trendy Isola district, I was immediately impressed with the slick bar area and good looking customers. I can see why Botanical is a favorite of my fashionable friends Jessica, Tatiana and Arianna! Although Kate (ex Mag and EGO) started things off at the Botanical Club, she has now moved on to work with Elephant Gin. Manning the bar now is the gifted (1) Mattia Capezzuoli @mattiacapez, formerly of 1930. He prepared two perfect renditions of the ****** (2) Dry Martini and ***** (3) Tuxedo cocktails. From the new drink list, try the ***** (4) 48, a name inspired by the first war of independence in Pastrengo in 1848. It features Spleen et ideal gin, lime juice, lemongrass syrup, plum bitters and organic champagne. In addition to great drinks, they have a solid food menu. Try the Ravioli with ricotta di bufala, saffron and a sea urchin sauce. Bomba!

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Cocktail Pilgrim and his dear friends @anitatci and @luigiferrario of @casamiamilanoofficial support the mighty @simseaweed of @atlasbarsg in the @bacardi.legacy #bacardilegacy final! In Italy, you can find Sim's delicious #goldeneight at Casa Mia Milano, @caffe900tirano and @lauruslecce!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข @octaviusmilan is the slick cocktail bar next to the The Stage Restaurant in Piazza Gae Aulenti. The Stage has a beautiful interior design thanks to architects Roman and Williams. They tambour wood panels on the walls and the mahogany ceiling make you feel like you're in the belly of brand new luxury yacht. The adjacent Octavius bar can be spotted through the porthole windows, with similar wood surroundings and warm color tones and lighting. The beautiful stainless and brass bar counter is the highlight, where Francesco Cione @fcione mans the crew of talented young bartenders. In my several visits to Octavius, I've always drank very well.
From the latest menu, try Octavius' revisited negroni **** (1) "Per-un-EGRONI" with Macchu Pisco Acholado, Select, sweet vermouth, absinthe and fernet. My favorite drink so far was the ***** (2) "Peat-Stop" with Talisker storm, Caol Ila Moch, a hint of Esapdin Joven mezcal, Zucca liqueur, sugar, honey and coffee bitters mix. Another winner is the ***** "Rumbullion from Skye" with Talisker port ruighe, Comapgnie des Indes rum Boulet de Canon, Braulio riserva, sugar cube, orange and black walnut bitters.

Although you pay more than MaG cafe or Carlo e Camilla for a drink, the sexy environment and solid drinks are worth the price of admission at Octavius.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข Thanks to @dom_carella, I discovered the magic of @drymilano Vittorio Veneto. The hip space near Piazza Repubblica features a welcoming front bar area, where the bartender on duty will always greet you with a smile as you enter. Hospitality is the number 1 priority of the bar team at Dry and they will always go out of their way to make sure you feel like a king. In addition to stellar cocktails, you can sample the best focaccia in Milano. I suggest the salted Yogurt salato with vinappeso or Stracciatella with prosciutto crudo of Osvaldo to pair with your drinketto.

The list is often changing at Dry, so I encourage you to ask the bartender on duty (Francesco Galdi or Federico Turina) to make you a twist on a classic. The ***** (1) @michterswhiskey Old Fashioned with an ice sphere made by Dom was the best version of this drink I've had in 2018. If you become a regular, request the mind blowingly good ***** (2) Ramos Fizz, a drink most bartenders would refuse to make. But at Dry the boys have got your back! My favorite pre dinner choice is the ***** (3) Michter's Boulevardier, served of course in a coupe glass.

If you're looking for great food and drinks in a cool atmosphere with head-nod worthy electronic music surrounded by sexy Milanese and jetsetters, Dry is your best bet in Milano.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข โ€œIterโ€ is Flavio's new project that is tucked away on a quiet street close to the hustle and bustle of Naviglio Grande. Iter is intimate, but spacious, thanks to its high ceilings, where the large bar wooden bar counter is the focal point. Bar stools are replaced with large, comfortable armchairs, at the perfect height to comfortably eat and drink.
What makes the first menu at Iter stand out is the use of only Italian ingredients. Obviously there is no shortage of vermouth, amaros and even gins in Italy, but what about spirits like whisky? No problem, they use a great single cask scotch bottled by an Italian at Strathclyde.
A great Italian only drink is the ***** (1) Sour cherry gin with @luxardoofficial sour cherry gin.

The real magic of this bar is inspired by its name, which means journey in Latin. Every six months, the boys will go on a trip to a new country, bringing back the best food, liqueurs and spirits to fuse with their Italian menu, making them the first fusion cocktail bar.
The recently launched first fusion menu features Holland and my favorite drink is the tart and thirst quenching **** (2) "Tonico del ciclista" with bitter del ciclista, wine infused with orange and tonic water.

Off list ask Idris @king_of_flavour for a ***** (3) Dutch Old Fashioned with 50 mL Zuidam 5yo Zeer Oude genever, 6 dashes Iter aromatic bitters, teaspoon sugar syrup and orange twist.

The food is also delicious at Iter. Ask Vincenzo @vince_mign for a tartare, risotto or the succulent stracotto di manzo from the latest Dutch menu.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Lecce โ€ข Thanks to a recommendation from Marco of @lauruslecce I stopped by the nearby @colonial.lecce, a Cuban inspired bar in the heart of Lecce. The friendly owner Oronzo is a big fan of rum, and it shows in the list, featuring both tiki style cocktails and over 70 important labels of the sugarcane-distilled spirit. Promising young bartender Alessio made me a delicious **** (1,2) Rum Manhattan followers by a mouth watering ***** (3) Trader Vic grog. Along with QB and Laurus, the Colonial is a must visit in Lecce. I look forward to sampling Oronzo's great rum collection on a future visit.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Tirano โ€ข Happy Easter from @caffe900tirano in the Italian Alps

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข Nottingham Forest is rightfully the most famous bar in Italy, thanks to Dario Comini, the father of molecular mixology. Because of this, you will need to arrive early to grab a spot. Otherwise you'll wait in line for 30 minutes or more. Respect to Comini who treats all of his customers equally, with no preferential lineup for industry people or VIPs.

Grab a seat at the (1) bar counter to best appreciate the atmosphere of the bar, described by some as Indian Jones' attic. Nottingham Forest is a dark and intimate bar, decorated with interesting objects collected by Comini during his various travels in Asia, Africa, America and the Caribbean. Perhaps the most interesting one is the bar itself, which used to be bar in NY's historic Knickerbocker hotel, where the Martini cocktail was invented. In fact, the Martini cocktail is Comini's favorite drink and you can't go wrong ordering one of his many variations on the classic. Perhaps Dario's most famous variation on the classic the **** (2) Mondrian Martini, where Comini adds spheres of trapped liquor to a Martini cocktail. He uses the spherification process from molecular gastronomy to create "molecules" of different colors: green from absinthe, red from bitter campari, yellow from vodka infused with saffron.

Outside of the Martini category, one of Comini's best is the ***** (3) Negroni Vellutato with a foam of walnuts, which adds more character to the famous aperitif. In fact this drink has inspired a new trend among mixologists, with many developing their twist on this cocktail.

Although Nottingham Forest has recently fallen out of the World's 50 Best Bars list, there's no doubt it's the most important cocktail bar in the country, having paved the way for the new generation of cocktail bars such as L'Antiquario in Naples, Jerry Thomas in Rome and
1930 in Milano.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข The first thing you'll notice when entering @drincmilano, located in Via Plinio, is the warm hospitality of (1) Luca Marcellin and Juan Valente, who make sure to greet and chat with everyone immediately as they enter. This kind welcome shouldn't come as a surprise because of their important experience together at the famous Four Seasons hotel of Milano. Drinc itself is small, with (2) four bar stools in front of Luca and a few tables. It's a very intimate place, perfect for chatting with with your friend or date.

The best drink of the menu is the ***** (3) Nothing like the first sip, which reproduces the emotion of the first sip 5 times, in one Martini cocktail. First, Plymouth gin, vermouth infused with cardamom and lavander and lemon bitters are carefully mixed together using a dropper. Then the concoction is shaken and poured into a test tube which is sealed with a cap and placed in a glacette to keep it cool. When ready, you swivel the Martini glass of choice into place, pour the first sip, and add the respective garnish.

Another great drink from the new menu is the variation **** (4) Whisky Sour ma va lร  with whiskey, salty caramel and cuman syrup, organic apple juice, fresh lime and egg white.

#cocktailpilgrim โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’Ž๐ŸŽณ Photos of Luca and bar counter by @toneyfernandez

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข @casamiamilanoofficial is a cozy cocktail lounge in Viale Regina Giovanna run by the friendly team of owners Luigi and Amanita and bartenders Federico and Marcello. From the sweetheart staff to the (1) comfortable couch perfect for meditating over a (2) Manhattan, every element of Casa Mia will make you feel like you're at home. The most special place at Casa Mia is the tucked away bar counter, where in addition to being surrounded many high-end bottles, you'll get to mingle with the friendly habituรฉs and industry people that frequent the bar.ย  Other than Federico's great selection of drinks and Marcello's Thrown Old Fashioned, try the (3) Negroni Draft, a very important drink to me on the new menu.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข @1930cocktailbar is no longer a secret but that doesn't hold it back from being the best bar in East Milano. The antique furniture, romantic lighting, (1) eye-catching bar counter and friendly and talented barmen continue to push this bar forward, with 1930 now receiving international acclaim, having recently done guest bars shifts at @elcopitasbar and @paradiso_barcelona. To gain access to this secret bar, you must first get to know the guys at MAG, the sister bar of 1930. If you're lucky, you'll be given a one time invitation. If you're even more lucky you'll eventually receive the membership card, an honor bestowed upon regular visitors who demonstrate a true passion for the bar, cocktails and life.

Beyond the mesmerizing ambiance at the 1930 secret cocktail bar, the drinks are superb, with the current list being the best since the speakeasy's conception 4 years ago. The favorites include the hot drink ***** (2) Xibalda made with the blue blazer method and featuring Don Julio Tequila,ย  Ron Zacapa 23, Kaffir Lime, Citrus and Water, Chilli Pepper, Demerara and Chocolate, and ***** (3) The Mountain with Farmily 2016, Honey Alpe, Alpine Freshness, Beeswax, Peychaudโ€™s bitters and Absinthe.

The best signature is the ***** (4) Lighthouse of Scoltand (Faro di Scozia) which has Laphroaig quarter cask, sea water, distilled earth, stout and vanilla, milk, aromatic bitters. It is liquid gold.

#cocktailpilgrim ๐ŸŽณ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ’Ž Photo of Faro and bar counter by @toneyfernandez, photo of new drinks
by @1930cocktailbar

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Milano โ€ข Matinee Idol @aleleuci_per_gli_amici recently started working forย @colibri_laghetto, a unique bar featuring the main cocktail bar, an outdoor courtyard for chilling with friends and a small bookstore.

Around 6pm I visited Colibrรฌ when the aperitivo was already in full swing because of all the students from the nearby University of Milano. Knowing my tastes, Ale prepared a ***** (1) savory cocktail served in a coupe with Knob creek bourbon, Quaglia chamomile liqueur, @anticaformula_official and chocolate bitters.

Ale then made me **** (2)ย She Sparks, with fresh raspberries, brown sugar, lime juice, Sandeman Ruby Port and Stoli vodka and a top of Berlucchi prosecco after the other ingredients are shaked and strained. Itโ€™s a refreshingly sour and fresh drink thanks to the lime, raspberries and prosecco, with some rich sweetness provided by the Port wine.

Adding to the fun at Colibrรฌ, there are regular jazz concerts, book presentations, and other unique exhibits at the bar.
#cocktailpilgrim ๐ŸŽณ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ’Ž Photos @toneyfernandez

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