The book cover of The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails, by Tony Abou-Ganim and Elizabeth Faulkner, with a foreward by Mario Batali.

An interview with Tony Abou-Ganim

Southern Glazer’s Bridget Albert talks to Tony Abou-Ganim about his books Modern Mixologist and Vodka Distilled.


Tony Abou-Ganim is an award-winning, well-beloved beverage hospitality professional. Tony is mentor to many, myself included. He shares what inspired his books and his hopes for his legacy.


Tell our readers what inspired your books.


With the Modern Mixologist, I wanted to break down some of the myths surrounding mixology and show consumers how easy it can be to craft great cocktails at home! It was intended to be a fun, insightful journey into the world of mixology touching on what it takes to make a great drink, from the tools of the trade to the importance of ice, glassware, premium spirits, and fresh, seasonal ingredients with a little history and lore thrown in for fun!

In writing Vodka Distilled we hoped to not only expand the reader’s knowledge and understanding of the vodka category, but also increase their enjoyment for the country’s number one consumed spirit. Vodka, once labeled as a tasteless, colorless, odorless spirit, is anything but that once you learn to discover and appreciate the subtle differences that make each brand unique!


How should vodka best be enjoyed?


My favorite way to serve, enjoy, and experience vodka is straight from the freezer in a frozen TAG glass. Serving vodka this way lets you appreciate the subtle nuances of the vodka and better understand how they express themselves as the vodka’s temperature slowly changes. Not just the texture of the spirit, but the aromas and flavors will develop and become enhanced. I also love to serve frozen vodka with a tin of caviar!


What tips do you have when it comes to home bartending?


1.      It is a whole lot easier to mix cocktails when you have proper, high-quality bar tools and learn how to use them.

2.      Invest in good glassware, your drinks will just taste better in a great, proper glass.

3.      There is NO substitute for fresh ingredients.

4.      You only get out of a drink what you put into it, quality above all else.

5.      Keep it simple.

6.      Preparation – do as much of the prep work beforehand so you can enjoy spending time with your guests.

7.      Moderation – remember enjoying a great cocktail is about the journey, not the destination!


What do you hope your legacy will be?


My cousin, Helen, who owned and ran a bar for nearly 70 years would always tell me to “leave the bar a little better than you found it!” I guess that would be my hope, that in some small way I have left the bartending profession just a little bit better than I found it!


Leave us with a toast!


In the presence of a well-made cocktail, taunt nerves relax, taunt muscles relax, eyes brighten, friendships deepen, and the whole world becomes a better place! Happiness.






About Tony Abou-Ganim


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 at


Link to purchase book:


Website and links:





Follow Tony on social channels IG @mdrnmixologist


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Tony supports charitable work and is passionate about helping others. You can lend your support to one of Tony's causes by following the link below. 



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