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We never refuse when San Carlo Fumo asks us over to try their new cocktails

Confidential drinks a lot of cocktails (it’s ok, we’re not looking for sympathy), but the ones at San Carlo Fumo, off St Peter’s Square, are some of our favourites. This is mainly because they’ve absolutely mastered the art of the aperitivo – that long, cool, after work drink, designed to bridge the gap between work and home life.

The word ‘aperitivo’ originates from the Latin verb aperire which means ‘to open’; to open your evening, your mouth, to stimulate your appetite before dinner etc. The origins of the concept are not exact, but are thought to have begun in Turin in 1786 with Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the creator of vermouth - a fortified wine flavoured with various botanicals and bitters from roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs and spices. Later, in the 1860s, Gaspare Campari moved to Milan and opened a café serving his home-brewed eponymous invention, the Campari liquor, which he mixed with soda or tonic water. 

Whether to enjoy the special aperitivo menu from Sunday to Thursday or to work our way through the comprehensive cocktail list come Friday, Fumo has become one of Confidential’s go-to places for after-work drinks. When we heard of five new additions to the menu, then, we knew we had to try them.

Here’s the lowdown… 

Limoncello Collins

If you like a good gin and tonic, you’ll really enjoy this slightly pimped up and very refreshing version. It’s a play on the American classic Tom Collins cocktail and is the Italian’s first choice for summer drinking. Bombay Sapphire gin is poured into a tall glass filled with crushed ice, topped with a measure of limoncello, lime juice, sugar syrup and soda water. For garnish and colour, they’ve added a couple of maraschino cocktail cherries to make a thirst-quenching and slightly perfumed drink.

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Tira a Campari

This sparkling aperitivo makes a welcome alternative to the popular spritz. Its name is an Italian pun which translates as ‘to fight for a living’, so maybe just have the one. The base of this drink is the bright red Campari complemented by more bitter notes coming from a Prosecco top up and a drop of orange bitters. Slight floral sweetness comes from elderflower cordial and the booze level is boosted by a shot of gin.

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Bloody Negroni

If you’ve had a difficult day at work, you’ll have some satisfaction ordering this one at the bar. In place of the usual Campari, the base is blood orange Cointreau liqueur, topped with Portobello gin and Peychaud’sAperitivo(which surprisingly hails from New Orleans rather than Italy.) This is shaken up with ice before being poured over a shot of vibrant green Chartreuse (which itself contains botanicals from an astonishing 130 plants.)

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Rosemary Old Fashioned 

The smooth warmth of this charming, bourbon-based cocktail took us by surprise. (Actually, none of Confidential’s official tasters profess to be whiskey lovers, but this was our unanimous favourite.) It’s a variation of the classic Old Fashioned cocktails and its beauty is in its simplicity. Head barman Luca has infused Buffalo trace bourbon with fresh rosemary and this forms the base of this drink which is then combined with sugar syrup and a few drops of Angostura bitters. For a slight flourish, it’s garnished with a slice of dried blood orange and a pretty lilac flower leaf. It’s a gorgeous cola-cube rust colour, with a lingering flavour that’s worth savouring and is a great choice for whiskey lovers.

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Almond Express

This cocktail, based on the popular Espresso Martini is so versatile it could work just as well before dinner as after, by doubling up as dessert. It uses two shots of Fumo’s smooth espresso coffee topped with a shot each of Malibu coconut liqueur, Disaronno almond liqueur, sugar syrup and a few drops of vanilla vodka for a smooth, round finish.

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Click here to book your table at San Carlo Fumo

  • 1 St Peters Square, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 5AN
  • 0161 236 7344