Tony Abou-Ganim is widely regarded as one of the pioneering and leading bar professionals in the world. He has made dozens of national TV appearances on shows including "TODAY," "Iron Chef America," "Good Morning America," "CNBC," "FOX News" and more. Abou-Ganim is the author of "The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails" (Agate, 2010) which offers readers an in-depth look into spirits and ingredients available to today’s mixologist, both professional and amateur alike. This entertaining and informative journey will take readers from the early stages of the cocktail to what Abou-Ganim has come to deem “Modern Mixology.” Abou-Ganim also has a DVD to his credit, "Modern Mixology: Making Great Cocktails at Home," and hosted the Fine Living program "Raising the Bar: America’s Best Bar Chefs." Abou-Ganim has also won three "Iron Chef America" competitions; pairing cocktails with Iron Chef Mario Batali; with Iron Chef Jose Garces and most recently with challenger Chef Sean McClain. His signature branded line of Modern Mixologist bar tools and his second book, "Vodka Distilled" (Agate, 2013), are available now.
Abou-Ganim grew up in the bar business, learning the craft from his cousin Helen David at the Brass Rail Bar in Port Huron, Michigan. His initial introduction to the business was steeped in the tradition of classic cocktails and professional barmanship, teaching him the necessary steps to become a leader in the beverage industry. After graduating from college, Abou-Ganim further developed an appreciation for a hand-crafted cocktail using only the freshest ingredients while working at Jack Slick's Balboa Café and then during the opening of "Harry Denton's,” a legendary hangout in San Francisco. In 1993 he moved to New York City and took a position as the opening bartender at Po, Mario Batali’s first restaurant. Tony later returned to San Francisco to open Harry Denton's Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel and it was here that he developed his first specialty cocktail menu featuring several of his original cocktail recipes including the Sunsplash, Starlight and his most famous of them all, the Cable Car.
In 1998, Abou-Ganim was selected by Steve Wynn to develop the cocktail program at Bellagio Las Vegas. He not only implemented his philosophy of bartending and drink preparation, stressing both quality ingredients and proper technique, but also created several original cocktails for the resorts 22 bars. In 2002, he won the Bacardi Martini World Grand Prix – one of only two Americans to ever win this title.
In 2014, Abou-Ganim teamed up with Caesars Palace to develop the cocktail program at The Lobby Bar. There he collaborated on the menu development as assisted with bar staff training, reinforcing his belief in the use of quality ingredients and proper technique.
In 2015, Abou-Ganim collaborated with Levy Restaurants to design signature craft cocktails in the lounges and beverage destinations throughout Oracle Arena in Oakland and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, home of the Vegas Golden Knights. That work has continued to include the Las Vegas Ballpark home of the Aviator AAA Baseball Team and Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. Later that year, Abou-Ganim was asked by James Beard Award-winning Chef Shawn McClain to spearhead the dual-faceted cocktail program at McClain’s restaurant at Mandalay Bay, Libertine Social, which opened in 2016. In 2019, Abou-Ganim and McClain, along with Richard and Sarah Camarota, ventured together to open Highlands Steakhouse, Hearth 71, and the High Bar on the 71st floor of the GM Rennaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
In October of 2020, Abou-Ganim along with industry professionals David Graphshi and Julio Bermejo announced the inaugural TAG Global Spirits Awards, a four-day comprehensive global spirits competition judged by an array of international experts from four continents. The event will also feature consumer enthusiast educational tracks led by industry experts; spirited dinner soirees which will be hosted at some of Las Vegas’ best restaurants; and the Pink Tie Gala, which will celebrate brand participants and Grand Finale award winners, while raising money and awareness for the Helen David Relief Fund.
As one of the National Ambassadors of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, and Associate Member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Abou-Ganim continues to educate about the history and lore of cocktails. He also operates his own beverage consulting firm specializing in bar staff training, product education and cocktail development.
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