Best Cocktails in Milan Featured

Discover the best cocktails in Milan and learn about MAG Cafe’s magic.

by Lavinia Pisani

As Design Week keeps most creatives’ eyes and ears on Milan, the city shines as bright as ever. Thousands of visitors have swarmed to the northern Italy city to see how design is about to shape and improve our future. If you are one of them, make sure to take the time to experience the Aperitivo culture. Whether this be to talk business, taste mixology concoctions, or simply relax, the happiest of all hours is going to make life feel good.

Marking the 100th anniversary of Negroni - the most popular Italian cocktail, made of campari, vermouth and gin - it feels mandatory to celebrate sipping one of the best crafted Negroni in Milan.

Best Negroni in town

Negroni del Marinaio at MAG Cafe is pure perfection. “This is one of our signature cocktails,” says Flavio Angiolillo, founder and owner of MAG, 1930, Backdoor43 and Iter.

mag article 1Image courtesy of MAG Cafe

The story behind the success of Angiolillo - and everything that he puts his hands on - is awe inspiring and we had the opportunity to get an insight.
Born in Rome in 1984, Angiolillo spent his childhood in Perigord, south-western France, before moving (for work) to Monte Carlo, to the Caribbeans and eventually to Milan when he was 22. “It is funny, I couldn’t speak Italian until I came to Milan,” says Angiolillo, with a spot of French accent in flawless Italian, remembering how he first started as a dishwasher, then a bass boy, then a waiter, before finally becoming barman.

“Bartenders are the only one [inside a bar/ restaurant] who manage to create and sell their own art”, this is one of the reasons that led Angiolillo to pursue a career behind the bar.

Related: District Guide Navigli, Porta Genova & Tortona 

Flavio Angiolillo - from dishwasher to leader

Still, his first opening in Milan was a bistro.

“I was trying to offer too many things [...]” says Angiolillo. He had to go through difficult times that led him to close the bistro in order to understand what Italians - Milanese specifically - truly want.

“It is crucial to listen to critiques. One must be like a sponge, it is impossible to grow otherwise.” Looking at the number of people waiting to be seated at MAG Cafe year round, Angiolillo definitely listened to the critiques and, also thanks to the support of the rest of “the guys”, he reached success thanks to the ability of giving people what they want: to feel like they are part of something.

mag intervieweeImage courtesy of MAG Cafe

The Magic Behind MAG Cafe

Located in the Navigli area, right on Ripa di Porta Ticinese, the street listed among the 12 Favourite Streets in Europe by the New York Times, MAG Cafe features a lovely patio. People sit outside waiting for the sun to go down while observing the bustling life go by around the Ticino river. “This area wasn’t always like this,” says Angiolillo thinking about the time before renovations took place in occasion of World Expo 2015.

The atmosphere inside of MAG Cafe is no less inviting than the outside. Parrot cages, deconstructed bikes, mugs and much more hang from the ceiling, creating a cosy and welcoming atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. Once seated at one of the vintage seating corners, or on the bar stools, you will be handled the precious drinklist which, at MAG Cafe, is more than just a list, just like all of Angiolillo’s bars are more than just bars...

mag article 2Wall Art by Simona Cozzupoli. Image courtesy of MAG Cafe

Related: Milan's Most Unconventional Boutiques

Following a seasonal Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer calendar, the drinklist at MAG Cafe is a ticket to a fascinating journey. This season you will be literally travelling with their menu because “the guys at MAG” decided to guide you in your plans for your upcoming getaway. Singapore, Amalfi Coast, Minorca, Turkey and New Orleans are only a few of the selected destinations that have inspired the creation of exceptional cocktails, promising to take you (or at least your tastebuds) around the world. But as always, there is more. Scan the QR Codes on the menu and take notes of the city guide suggestions that MAG Cafe has wrapped up for you.

Other bars worth considering

No trip to Milan can be complete without a stop at MAG Cafe. Still, if the waiting list gets out of control, there are a few other cocktail bars worth considering.

Take notes of Rita, Ugo, Pinch and Morgante when scrolling down the Naviglio Grande, and don’t forget to try the Negroni.

mag bartenderImage courtesy of MAG Cafe

Last but not least, please know that Negroni Sbagliato, or “wrong sbagliato,” was actually invented in Milan at Bar Basso. This historical bar, located near the Lima red-line metro station, will drag you back to the late 60’s when founder, Mirko Stocchetto, accidentally poured sparkling wine - instead of gin - in the Negroni.

No matter where you go, follow the MAG Cafe Motto to “Drink Better, Not More.

For more ideas about Do, Dine, and Spend in Milan, visit our Destinations page.