Vincenzo Errico exclusive interview by Mariah Estran on the amazing cocktails at the speakeasy bar in Ischia, Italy – L’Artefatto.
You have worked at many bars including the well-loved Milk and Honey in NYC, but how did you begin your journey as a bartender?
I was 18, in London, and I since living in Italy I was already a good head-waiter but always loved the bar side most, so I decided to look for a job at a good cocktail bar. I started as a busboy at the Match bar on Margaret street and after I changed 5 different jobs. The Match company at that time, in 2001, was the top in London. Dick Bradsell was working there as a drink director.
You created your own take on the Manhattan, a cocktail named The Red Hook. You also developed a drink rightfully named The Enzoni, which is said to be a twist on the classic Negroni. How did you figure out these mixtures? Did it involve a lot of trial and error?
When I try to create a new cocktail, I always think about it a couple of days, then I try some ingredients alone or mixed with the other ingredients in small amounts at room temperature. Then when I find the right match, I try to balance the ideas and the ingredients into a cocktail. If I don’t get it right after 2-3 tries, I start over.
You’ve recently opened your own bar called L’ArteFatto. What made you make the transition from bartender to business owner?
It was the next step, most bartenders aim to open their own bar at some point.
How has the business-owning experience been? If any, what obstacles have you overcome?
Lately, I have always been in a position in management, so the owning experience has been just like that of being the manager, head bartender, but also sometimes a mix of being the bar-back and the busboy together, as well as the owner. Tiring honestly; The obstacles are many when you open a bar, they are part of the risk. The key is to never give up and keep on going to find solutions.
The cocktail menu is an important component to any bar, so how do you make sure you keep your menu fresh and exciting to customers?
We change the menu seasonally, try always to put in it cocktails new, compare to the well-known ones, create a new twist on classics, and try to stick to recipes. It isn’t easy, but we try.
As someone with years of experience in the industry, what cocktail trends and recipes do feel will become more popular in the next year or so?
Lately, the bar trend is moving towards the signatures, many bartenders are using crazy ingredients coming from the other side of the planet, different cultures, or from a different time with modern technique to develop new cocktails. But at the same time, everyone is going towards the idea that less is more.
When it comes to your business, what does the future look like? What do you hope to achieve next?
We have been open for only 10 months, so we need to achieve a lot still. We just need to be there trying to understand and surprise our customers with quality ingredients and services.