7 bartenders tell you why drinking with a straw is useless

7 bartenders tell you why drinking with a straw is useless

7 bartenders from Milan to Lecce explain why plastic straws are useless and should be eliminated as soon as possible.

Colored or in the more classic black variant, short or up to 50 centimeters long to drink from a distance or lying down, rigid or foldable. Even if we learn to use the glass already around 6 months,from 2021 plastic straws will be bannedthe straw is an object that has been chasing us since we were children. We still find it in fast food restaurants, in some establishments, on supermarket shelves, but at the counters of the best cocktail bars it is on the verge of extinction. From 2021 the European Union will think about definitively banning plastic ones , de facto discouraging their use in general. According to a research by Legambiente, in 2018 straws were the seventh most present waste on the Italian coasts. A report by Eunomia speaks of 2 billion straws used in Italy per year . Difficult to recycle, these tubes remain in nature practically forever: 500 years.

So why do we use them? The factors are many. There is the hygienic one: the lips do not come into contact with an unknown surface, perhaps dirty; the sociological one: the cocktail with two straws can be shared more easily; the iconographic one: in the collective imagination the cocktail has one straw, or rather two, perhaps an umbrella. Yet none of these reasons, however of little importance, seem to justify its abuse. We asked 7 Italian bartenders, from Milan to Lecce, what they think, what they use for their drinks  and customer response.


  1. Federico Volpe, Dry Milan . “ What we do is not to use them, because we work with a different approach to cocktails. I think this is how people drank in the 80s, especially in hotels, when there were no professionals today. If you look at your face, the nose is right above the mouth. Add a straw and you won’t be able to hear certain notes. From this point of view I see that Milan is attentive, receptive, always on the spot. The culture of drinking is very widespread. But even here, if you go out for a drink on a Saturday night, you clear your mind and you don’t want the environmental sermon. If I serve you a drink without a straw instead, you will learn how to drink it this way. Without “. 
  2. Stefano Aiesi, The Botanical Club (Milan) . “ They rarely ask for them. The straw should help the customer, instead it deprives him of a part of the experience, and we do a part of the work. Some drinks need a straw, those with crushed ice, but in that case there are always alternatives. And we try to be creative also on raw materials, making the most of every ingredient. I take the example of lemons or limes: they do not end up in the wet, but we try to use them to make a cordial not only with the skins but with the whole carcass “. 
  3. Alessio Ghiringhelli, Scarto (Bologna) . “ I would start from where Scarto was born. From our desire not to produce it at all, I discard it. And if necessary, use it again, put it back into circulation. We have never used single-use plastic, but already from the opening. We have straws, in glass and metal. What drinks do we use them for? None to tell the truth. Carsten, Laura and I are all behind the counter and none of us have ever had any complaints. And among all the possible reasons, there is also one of ours, an aesthetic factor. The decorations and trimmings of our cocktails are minimal, we aim for the utmost cleanliness and essentiality. We don’t want to dirty this aesthetic, not even for a glass straw “. 
  4. Julian Biondi, Mad Souls & Spirits (Florence) . “ There isn’t a single one of our drinks that should be drunk through a straw. To discourage everyone, but in a nice way, we put a photo of Greta Thunberg at the counter with the words’ Don’t do the straw-nzo. Drink without a straw ‘. People like it, people understand. Even in a place like ours, a street bar that talks to everyone. Using a straw means blocking our olfactory response to the drink, which plays a crucial role in the final result. We don’t make spritz but if we did and someone asked me for a straw I would say: do you drink Prosecco with a straw? Here, that’s all “. 
  5. Patrick Pistolesi, Drink Kong (Rome) . “Safe is a legacy of the 80s, linked to the use of the can, to disposable culture, to consumerism in general. From here the straw has raged and doubled, according to some for a matter of sharing, of sharing. Yet American Bartending is born without, without straw. At Kong none of the drinks have it, but long before, let’s say 3 years, I had decided to remove it from all my drinks. In this bar the choice is absolute and follows other ideas that we have applied to drinking and eating, eliminating all single-use plastic and aiming to limit food waste. We have a corn fiber option for veterans who still ask for it. But then I’ll take care of it with my bad jokes to make you want to go away “. 
  6. Ugo Acampora, Twins Cocktail Wine Coffee (Naples) . “There is an imaginary of the customer, especially in the younger groups, which is still linked to the disco environment, where there are always 2 straws and at least 4 or 5 cocktails. Once I was asked for a Negroni with a straw, really , a Negroni! If we sprinkle orange or lemon essences on a drink, it is because we want that smell to be felt. In Naples up to the age of 4 people drank in very few realities, for this reason the requests are still there, but they decrease with the spread of a culture of drinking. We helped each other like this: we created a drink called PPM (Pasta, Pizza and Mandolin), which is completed by a zito. Since that moment the ziti have appeared on the counter and are gradually allowing us to abandon the straws “. 
  7. Diego Melorio, Quanto Basta (Lecce) . “ It is  a tactile matter. Just as when you drink coffee you have to feel the heat on your lips, so when you drink a drink you have to feel the cold. Then certainly also a matter of smells, perfumes. Straws have never entered our bar since opening 6 years ago. We have them in paper, but we use them very little, as are the cups for take-away drinks. But then after the straws I would move on to the theme of water. We give it away. But how many use bottles and bottles? A very fast count in my city: 30 bottles a evening, for 20 places in the center of Lecce alone, they make 600 bottles, for 365 days, do it yourself, more than 200,000 a year. And I keep it very low “. 

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