Want the scoop on Bar Shift Los Angeles? The jetsetting Liquor.com program, sponsored by Grey Goose®, sends one professional drinks-slinger to a new city to work a shift at a top drinking destination.
On Monday, April 27, Enzo Cangemi of Manhattan’s Bowery Hotel headed west to shake at The Spare Room inside Los Angeles’ Roosevelt Hotel, a location with special significance to Cangemi. First introduced to the thrill of mixology while growing up in Messina, Sicily, Cangemi was constantly inspired by the aromas and flavors of his hometown. He pursued his passion for mixology by attending the Italian Association of Bartenders School and working as a bar manager in esteemed establishments throughout Italy, Spain and Scotland.
When his bartending dreams led him to immigrate to the US six years ago, Cangemi landed in LA, where he lived in a condo right next to The Roosevelt Hotel. This proved to be a formative time for Cangemi and challenged him to find the right setting where his bartending talent and creativity could bloom. During this period, Cangemi found work at the chic Via Alloro in Beverly Hills, where he perfected his skills under the mentorship of Vincenzo Marianella and was motivated to experiment with his own original recipes.
Now living in New York years later, Cangemi has found the dynamic atmosphere and energy he was searching for at The Bowery Hotel. Since his journey began in LA, the chance to revisit a crucial point in his bartending career was a gratifying and humbling experience. His Bar Shift at The Roosevelt Hotel with beverage director Yael Vengroff was like returning to his roots, inspiring him with the familiar flavors of the city’s greenmarket and the memories of his budding bartending career in the US. Thrilled to participate in his Bar Shift at what he calls “one of the best landmark bars in the world,” Cangemi was thankful for the opportunity to “showcase what I love the most: bartending.”
Cangemi’s signature Bar Shift cocktail was the spicy Mangapeño, one of the drinks that put him on the map. Inspired both by his early years in the City of Angels and his Italian heritage, the Mangapeño combines Grey Goose Vodka, Aperol, mango syrup, lemon juice and a slice of muddled jalapeño. A balanced blend of fruity bitterness with a hint of heat, Cangemi’s cocktail echoes the warm, inviting nights of southern California. And Cangemi’s experience embodies the spirit of Bar Shift: to elevate bartenders across the country and inspire their craft over the course of their careers.
The Bar Shift program is far from over. Eager to catch the action in-person? Check out the Bar Shifts heading your way later this year in San Francisco, New York and beyond. You’ll witness an esteemed bartender from a faraway city take on the shift of a lifetime in your hometown. The experience promises an exchange of knowledge that will forever influence his or her craft behind the bar. The best part? You get to drink the results.
Get a taste of what went down behind the stick by watching the video highlights of Cangemi’s shift, hosted by The Spare Room’s beverage director Yael Vengroff.