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Ask any barman in Milan, Italy’s capital of fashion and finance, and he’ll tell you that the Spritz has been one of the most-requested aperitivi for years. But there’s a place where you’ll find the drink in a molecular version. Among true cocktail aficionados, the bar Nottingham Forest is well-known for its original menu of drinks that combines chemistry, aesthetics and ingeniousness.
The owner Dario Comini is one of the world’s most respected bartenders, and has created these special versions of the classic Spritz. As he explains, «The molecular Spritz is made with Aperol, or another bitter, that gets spherified. The drink is served in a cup with these little balls inside, which has a solid exterior but a liquid interior (as shown in the picture). You can choose the size and shape – there’s the caviar, which is about the size of salmon roe, or else the molecules, which are as big as grapes. The glass is served along with a spoon, and when the little sphere is smashed, the liquor is released.»
He also serves a drink called “the Amalfi Spritz”: a clever mix of spumante with limoncello from the Amalfi coast. Again, there’s a molecular touch – a bit of “air” made from the bitter liquor, amaro Nonino.
Comini explains, «The aria is easy to make. You add a gram of sucreste (a kind of sweetener made from saccharin and fatty acids), which, when combined with alcohol, forms a kind of foam. When you blend it, it becomes fluffy and airy, and we call it aria. In your mouth, it has the same consistency as a soap bubble.»