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Home > CHEF SECRETS > Las Vegas Chef Secrets > Tony Abou-Ganim (Part 3 of 3)

Tony Abou-Ganim

The Modern Mixologist

    Clermont Smash

The Modern Mixologist

TravelsinTaste.com: Would you care to comment on the culinary approach to mixology?

Abou-Ganim: I absolutely believe that we have to have the same skill set behind the bar as they do in the kitchen -- the culinary approach. You don't just throw ingredients into a glass and hope for the best. You follow true and time-tested recipes. Until the chef masters the mother's sauces they aren't making black truffle emulsions and foams. That said, young bartenders come to me and say, "What makes a great bartender?" I tell them, "Work with and learn from great bartenders first and foremost, but study and learn and master the classics." Once you have that knowledge and understanding, then you just build from there. Much like chefs need to understand flavors, balance and complexity, bartenders must understand the total cocktail, which is more than just the sum of the parts. It comes from practice, from tasting and from understanding flavors; it comes from understanding acidity and alcohol and bitter and how they all play a role in the final production. The only difference between a great executive chef and a wonderful bartender is about 60 grand a year! It’s the same approach, though.

If you'd like to try making Tony Abou-Ganim's cocktails at home, continue reading for some of his favorite recipes:

Cable Car

Hoop la!

1 part Cognac
1 part Lillet Blanc
1 part Cointreau
1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cable Car

1 1/2 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
3/4 oz Marie Brizard orange curacao
1 1/2 oz fresh lemon sour *

In a mixing glass add Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, orange curacao and fresh sour; shake with ice until well blended. Strain into a chilled sugar-cinnamon frosted cocktail glass and garnish with an orange spiral – (Orange spirals can be easily cut fresh using a citrus stripper, also known as a channel knife).

*Mixing 2 parts fresh squeezed, filtered lemon juice with 1 part simple syrup will easily make fresh lemon sour.

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