CREA Café Cocktail Corner: Enzoni—Is It a Car or a Cocktail?

It’s red. It’s powerful. It’s a little complicated.

Enzo is the car, and it’s all of those things. Enzoni is the cocktail, and it’s also all of those things. But everyone can have an Enzoni, almost no one can have an Enzo.

The Enzo is a Ferrari named after the company founder. It was made from 2002-2004 and only 399 were built at a cost of about $660,000 USD. The last one, unit 400, was made for the Pope. Last month a 2003 Enzo sold at auction for $2.64 million USD.  So, no Enzo for me.

The Enzoni is a fantastic cocktail, and like the car, invented by an Italian.

Vincenzo Errico was working at the famous New York City bar, Milk and Honey, when he invented the drink. Coincidentally, the cocktail was invented around the same time as the car. But as with many newer successful cocktails, it has parents, older established cocktails that helped give it life—the Negroni for sure, and some say a Gin Sour was involved.

If you’ve read more than one of these columns you may have noticed most of the cocktails are on the easier side to make, I try not to recommend ones with one-off ingredients or obscure items that are hard to get. (Indeed, I have a killer cocktail in mind that has yellow Chartreuse in it, but it’s not widely stocked compared to green Chartreuse, so I haven’t written about it). For these reasons, I have held off writing about the Enzoni, since ideally it requires a specific tool called a muddler and a quick trip to the grocery store. Hence the mild complication.

I say ideally, because a good muddler works better than the alternatives, one of which is a thick wooden spoon. If you pick up a muddler, you can use it for Mint Juleps and Mojitos, two other fun summer drinks. If you want to get even more use from your muddler, some Old Fashioned and Manhattan recipes call for muddled fruit. Look for muddlers with a textured bottom, I find them a little better than the flat smooth ones. They break up and blend better.

Now that you have a wooden spoon or a muddler, you’ll want to pick up the ingredient we are going to muddle: some white/green grapes. (Some are probably looking puzzled; others are having an “a-ha” moment.) Carry on! It’s easy from here since there is little debate about the cocktail proportions, which makes things a breeze. And if you read last week’s column, you already have the remaining ingredients:

  • 1 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • .50 oz. simple syrup
  • 4-6 white grapes

The number of grapes changes the balance of the cocktail. More grapes tip it over to a little sweet, and with fewer, the Campari and Gin shine through. Play around, you will be surprised the difference a couple grapes can make.

There is some debate whether to place the grapes in the shaker and muddle them without the other ingredients, but someone I respect puts all the ingredients in a shaker and then muddles. The best way to “muddle” is to moderately twist and squish until everything is blended together. Add some ice and shake until cold, strain (very important) into a glass with a big cube or two smaller ones.

While you can’t chat with Enzo Ferrari, he died in 1988 at the age of 90, the brains behind the Enzoni is very much still with us. Errico recently opened his own bar called L’ArteFatto in Fiori, on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples. If you’re in the hood post-COVID-19, get him to make you his famous invention. The visit is on my list.

Randall had the misfortune of being a bartender in the late 1980s, widely considered Hell in the annals of cocktail history—remember the fuzzy navel, the tequila sunrise and various coconut and blue curacao drinks? Resistance might have been futile against the Borg, but there was no way he was giving in, he kept drinking his Manhattans, Rob Roys and Old Fashioneds, despite almost never serving one at the bar.

As the former Executive Vice-President of Reputation, Randall McCauley helped shape the face of CREA and REALTORS® to the public and the media. Prior to joining CREA, Randall had a colourful career in politics with experience on Parliament Hill working with several Cabinet Ministers and a Prime Minister. He has also overseen Canadian government relations for a pharmaceutical company and was a founding Vice President of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). When not at work, Randall is a former personal trainer who is almost getting old enough to golf but has a few more years of kiteboarding left before he even looks at a set of clubs.

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