The rise of a new cocktail culture in the Spanish capital celebrates quality both in the glass and the setting.
The beverage of choice at the Dry Martini Bar is – not surprisingly – the martini. The bar is a conceptual copy of its big brother in Barcelona, frequently ranked among the world’s top 50 bars by Drinks International magazine. This mecca of martinis is run by Javier de las Muelas, who ensures that the quality and range of drinks are the same in every Dry Martini Bar around the world. A digital counter above the bar keeps track of how many martinis the bar has served since opening.
Dry Martini Bar, Calle de Hermosilla 2. drymartiniorg.com
2. Theatre of mixology
Platea is a multi-level gastro-bar housed in a former movie theatre. Its style is inspired by New York City, with drinks designed by Diego Cabrera, a wizard of mixology. Behind the bar you’ll find Italian bartender Luca Anastasio lovingly stirring his signature cocktail, Platea Tea Time, which fuses oriental tea tradition and classical cocktail culture. The frothy, pink cocktail is served in a beautiful silver teacup topped with a puff of icing sugar.
Platea, Calle de Goya 5-7. plateamadrid.com
3. Cosy Del Diego
After the extravagance of Platea and the Dry Martini Bar, it’s refreshing to pop into cosy Del Diego in the Chueca district. Del Diego might not beat the other bars with its more modest cocktails, but what it loses in swigs it wins with its charming atmosphere. The mood is relaxed and no one seems to be in a hurry to go anywhere: so very Madrilean!
Del Diego, Calle de la Reina 12. deldiego.com
4. Craft cocktails
There are no famous labels at the Macera Taller Bar: this drinking hole distils its own drinks from scratch. The mixologists at this hipster hotspot create imaginative concoctions using cinnamon, liquorice, citrus, and various spices. Patrons can choose a custom cocktail from a selection of more than 20 amazing artisanal spirits. Macera believes that all people are equal, and the same ideology applies to the drinks, too: all cocktails cost €7.
Macera Taller Bar, Calle San Mateo 21. maceradrinks.com
5. By the book since 1862
The 1862 Dry Bar prides itself on tradition. Don’t bother asking for a Mojito or Piña Colada, because they didn’t exist when the first known cocktail list was published in 1862. You’ll have better luck asking the bartender to mix up a classical Mint Julep or a Dry Martini. Chosen Spain’s best cocktail bar of 2014, the establishment sprawls over two floors and easily gets quite packed after 10:00 pm. For a calmer nightcap, visit the atmospheric, speakeasy-inspired lounge downstairs.
1862 Dry Bar, Calle del Pez 27
Text by Minna Nyrhinen photos by Maija Astikainen
This article is published in the December 2016 issue of Blue Wings.