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My last two posts: ‘Year of the Negroni‘ and ‘2011 Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala‘ both referenced Tony Abou-Ganim aka ‘Tony the Mixologist’.

So who exactly is the man behind the bar?

Most of you probably know Tony from his winning role on Iron Chef America’s ‘Battle Mango’ episode where he was pitted against Chef Mario Batali. In this episode, Tony made headlines with his expertise as a modern mixologist.

In addition to being a master mixologist and one of the nation’s top bartenders, Tony is also a cocktail educator and author of the recently released book “ The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails.”  Tony’s new book features an in-depth look into Tony’s take on modern day cocktails, featuring spirits and ingredients available to today’s Mixologist, both professional and amateur alike but not forsaking classic traditions and techniques. It is an entertaining and informative journey that will take you from the early beginning’s of the cocktail to what Tony has come to deem “Modern Mixology”.

Read More About Tony The Mixologist After The Jump…

On Friday, at the launch party for the 2011 Manhattan Cocktail Classic, I was able to not only meet Tony, but sample his work as he mixed and poured me a Negroni made with the Italian aperitif brand Campari!

Tony was the featured bartender for the evening, mixing and pouring hundreds of Negronis for the 3,000 guests who attended!

Tony the Mixologist

Tony the Mixologist

Regarding the Negroni, Tony Abou-Ganim has plenty to say. While Tony has had a ‘love affair’ with the Negroni since 1990, it took a bit of time for the refined cocktail to catch on in the States. Over the past ten years, Tony has seen the Negroni go from an obscure request in a local lounge, to a well known cocktail in which personal tastes define which gin and sweet vermouth is preferred to accompany the Campari, along with subtle debates over which compliments the beverage better – orange peel or lime.

In the end, Tony believes that when mixing the Negroni, the true art is in creating the perfect balance of ingredients!

Read more about the 2011 Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala.

Read more about the Negroni and view recipes.