A Liquid City Guide To Madrid’s Drinking Dens – Attractive Concepts
A weekend in Madrid is far too short for the high density of bar adventures. Too little time to visit the long-established and latest bars. I found these concepts particularly interesting and I’ll start with my favourite.
Angelita | Measured not Shaken
Angelita is a wine bar at street level and a cocktail bar with an innovative approach in the basement. Cocktails are served in mg instead of ml.
The wine bar has one of the best wine lists in town – which is perfect to discover the variety of Spanish wine. For the restaurant almost 90 per cent of the ingredients for the kitchen and bar come from the owners’ family garden or its surroundings. The bar downstairs goes hand-in-hand with the farm-to-table approach. Innovative, exciting with a lot of hospitality and a good conscience.
Ask for a seat at the huge bar counter where the magic happens. Looking for jiggers and shakers? No such thing here: scales and small greenhouses are the tools used. Homemade and pre-batched ingredients, a culinary approach, and lots of flavour in the glass. The menu is divided into flavour pairings and each drink is listed with its alcohol content. Definitely on my return-to list – exciting and dangerously delicious.
ISA Gastrobar, at Four Seasons | The Hotel Bar
ISA is Four Season Hotel’s newest gastrobar in Madrid and is beautifully located on the first floor enjoying the most iconic corner view in the heart of Madrid watching over the union of Calle Alcalá and Calle Sevilla. Four Seasons introduction to ISA: Raise a glass to our friendly, informal gastrobar, where delicious Asian- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes pair with epicurean signature cocktails. Experience a showcase of modern mixology, accompanied by the most vibrant entertainment. And from my side a crystal clear recommendation to visit.
For the interior, imagine something elegant, intimate, mysterious in black, red and blue. Here, the renowned New York studio AvroKo was responsible for the design. The room concept is well thought out and can be variably adapted to the guests’ wishes. A quick conversion creates more privacy for certain occasions. Artwork, hand-painted wallpaper and even a dance floor give the different rooms their own personality, inviting guests to stay and come back. Very tasteful and stylish.
Asian-inspired interior, continued into the glass and onto the plate.
The concept is as excellent as the brains behind it. The crème de la crème of the current bar scene has come together. No less than the renowned international bartender Erik Lorincz was engaged as a consultant for the first phase of the opening of this bar. Head bartender is Miguel Pérez, known as one of the best bartenders in Spain, supported by Swiss Bartender of the Year Sophie Larrouture. A high-class mixture inspired by, and with ingredients from, Japanese cuisine. In addition, you can expect impeccable hospitality at star level. The liquid concept is rounded off by the Michelin-starred experienced head chef Jhonny Setjo who has designed the Japanese-inspired with a touch of Mediterranean or Peruvian cuisine. Cocktails and food, right up my street! Cocktails with character and Japanese food, even better!
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We were lucky enough to be in the company of cocktail writer Francois Monti (who, by the way, I met once by chance at Bar Solange in Barcelona where Miquel Perez worked at the time) and were treated to the bar’s delicacies. In short: a must visit and in Francois’s words “this place will make some global noise pretty soon”.
Further information about Isa and on Four Seasons’s website.
La Tuerta Funky Castizo | Cocktails made from leaves
La Tuerta Funky Castizo is located in the lively, multicultural neighbourhood of the district of Lavapiés in Madrid. It opened in July 2019 as a project that unites good food and avantgarde cocktails. It’s also a restaurant, with really, great food, so a cocktail and dinner combo is a great idea.
In a brilliant first year, it managed to carve out a niche for itself among the best cocktail bars on the Iberian Peninsula according to the Top Cocktail Bars 2020 list, and is recognized with the award for best opening of 2019 and had two nominations in 2020 (best bar/ restaurant and best menu) by FIBAR, the most influential cocktail fair in Spain.
La Tuerta’s idea is to put new trends in an aesthetic framework with a clear minimalist influence.
La Tuerta doesn’t use citrus – ever. It works mostly with homemade cordials. When I was there it had recently released its latest menu – and it’s rumoured to be the best yet – focused on leaves.
The “Leaves” menu does without fruit flavours and focuses exclusively on leaves. These flavours are extracted in various ways, including re-distillation, maceration and infusion. The trained eye will have already noticed the rotovap when entering the bar. For the drink, one main ingredient is selected (the leaf of a plant, as the name suggests) and a cocktail is created. Sounds easy!
We tasted our way through the menu. I liked the Higo best, which reminded me of a Brandy Crusta in terms of taste. Fig leaves have already found their way into cocktail creations as an ingredient. And rightly so, the taste is surprisingly unique. I would say slightly earthy, green, nutty coconut-like, sweet. Fig leaf cordial is used for Higo.
Higo is a spirited Scotch and Sherry cocktail that employs a fig leaf cordial as its sweetener. The fig leaf gives the cocktail interesting and unusual aromatics that go beyond the classic rich fig flavour.
50 ml Auchentoshan 3 Woods
30 ml Fig Leaf Cordial
20 ml Palo Cortado Dos Cortados 20
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
click on “Visit Instagram” to watch the manual
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