Norah Was Drunk: the venue reviving the absinthe trend, the former "prohibited distillate"

Penelope Vaglini
copertina norah was drunk

Absinthe cocktails and oysters: Norah Was Drunk's aperitivo stands out for originality and product expertise in the increasingly diverse Milanese market.

The cocktail bar

In Milan, mixology is thriving, and Lambrate has been on the radar of drink lovers for a few years. Thanks to openings like Fred Records, a vinyl and cocktail bar store, Unseen with its unique table, and Norah Was Drunk, a gem at 169 via Porpora. Founded by partners Niccolò Caramiello and Stefano Rollo, the venue is recognizable by its neon sign and the single window facing the street, offering a glimpse of what's happening at the counter.

Norah was drunk Stefano Rollo Niccolo Caramiello ph Jacopo Salvi
@Jacopo Salvi
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@Jacopo Salvi

Norah Was Drunk, old Milan charm

Once you cross the threshold, the environment captivates with its "Old Milan" charm, merging with a hint of neoclassicism from colonial New Orleans. The long counter is the focal point of all activities, characterized by the green color present in the Guatemala marble top. Opposite, you can sit on the shelf made of the same material as the counter, where liquid creations and tastings are placed from the aperitivo hour onward.

Norah was drunk Interiors 01 ph Jacopo Salvi
@Jacopo Salvi
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@Stefania Zanetti

The délabré walls complement the coffee-colored wooden floors, while brass details add a contemporary touch to the environment. All furnishings are custom-made, in collaboration with the Controprogetto Laboratory, reclaiming old wooden planks and waste materials, giving them new life and finding a place in the raised area of the venue. The brass pendant lights, personally designed by the two partners of the venue, complete Norah Was Drunk's style and change the atmosphere, becoming softer as time at the counter goes by.

Norah was drunk Interiors 04 ph Jacopo Salvi
@Jacopo Salvi
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@Stefania Zanetti

Who is Norah?

The name of the venue says it all. Norah Was Drunk is the product of the imagination of the two founders, who, when asked about its meaning, respond differently each time. Norah is like a friend whose origins no one knows: a citizen of the world carrying entertaining stories, designed to engage and welcome guests.

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@Stefania Zanetti

The ironic approach of Caramiello and Rollo, who never seem to take themselves too seriously, should not be intimidating. At the counter and in the hall, these masters of hospitality know how to make every customer feel at ease, offering meticulously prepared blends and always courteous hospitality, capable of exploring personal drinking preferences and recommending the most suitable cocktail to enjoy.

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Discovering Absinthe

Norah Was Drunk welcomes those in search of "forgotten" spirits like absinthe, which finds its place in the bar with numerous labels. Many of these are practically unavailable in Italy and are the result of careful research by the founders of the venue, who imported them from France and Switzerland.

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@Jacopo Salvi

Indeed, the uniqueness of Norah Was Drunk lies in the "green fairy" service through the French ritual or mixed in special cocktails dedicated to a section of the drink list. The first option involves placing a perforated spoon and a sugar cube on top of a glass containing absinthe. Everything is positioned under a fountain containing water and ice, from which drops continuously fall. By distributing the sugar in the glass, they give life to the louche effect, where the insoluble components of absinthe emerge, revealing an intense aromatic bouquet and clouding the liquid.

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@Jacopo Salvi

For those who prefer cocktails, the current menu includes five blends to try. The Absinthe Mule with almond enhances the hints of wormwood, the Absinthe Rita recalls Mexican flavors by combining absinthe and mezcal, and the Absinthe 75, a twist on the classic gin-based cocktail, made sparkling by champagne bubbles. The Green Beast refreshes the sip with notes of cucumber and lime, while Dry Martini lovers should order the Absinthe Martini, which combines absinthe, juniper distillate, and dry vermouth.

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@Stefania Zanetti

Norah Was Drunk drink list

In addition to drinks prepared with the green fairy, Norah Was Drunk's drink list allows you to choose from ten signature cocktails, eight indispensable blends that have made the history (although still short) of the venue, and four variations of Martinis. Among these, the refined oyster version and the Direct Martini stand out, which, instead of going through the mixing glass, is made directly in the iced cup.

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@Stefania Zanetti

Claymore Negroni is perfect for aperitivo time, combining gin and Campari with banana liqueur and the bitter note of hops. Sinapsi is designed for tequila lovers and includes mezcal, mountain pine, pear liqueur, and mustard. The Grasshopper makes the drink contemporary with mint liqueur, while the Agricole Gimlet is ideal for those who love the distillate obtained from sugarcane juice.

Norah was drunk Grasshopper ph Jacopo Salvi
@Jacopo Salvi
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@Stefania Zanetti

Oysters and Gourmet 'Tins'

At Norah Was Drunk, it's not just about drinking. The food offering ranges from a selection of oysters, available depending on the season and market availability, to fine cheeses and cured meats like Jamón Iberico, while the bread comes from the Milanese laboratory Le Polveri and is produced with whole flours.

Norah was drunk Food 02 ph Jacopo Salvi
@Jacopo Salvi

However, the real stars are the fish preserves from Portugal enclosed in colorful tins. Choose between classic sardines with lemon, tomato, and olive oil, or creative options like roasted cod, Galician-style mussels, and ray fish in oil. Eel lovers shouldn't miss the scapece version.

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@Jacopo Salvi

Between creative cocktails, classic drinks, oysters, and preserves, the experience at Norah Was Drunk has no rivals in the Milanese scene and is worth a visit to try the fascinating absinthe ritual.

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@Stefania Zanetti


Norah Was Drunk

Via Nicola Antonio Porpora, 169, 20131 Milan MI

Phone: 375 774 6998


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