Tony Conigliaro - Mixologist of the Month
- Date of Birth: 4th August 1971
- Birth place: United Kingdom
- Height: 5'8"
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: British
Tony Conigliaro is widely acknowledged as one of the UK's pioneering drinks creators, and is continually working to break the boundaries surrounding drinking experiences. Having worked as a bartender for many years in places such as Hakkasan, Roka and Zuma in London, Tony began to pay attention to the work of the chefs and incorporate new methods into his cocktail repertoire, resulting in some ground-breaking cocktail menus.
Tony first started to experiment while working on the cocktail lists at Isola in 2001 and has since implemented various radical methods and processes in his drink making. .
Having studied art and art history and worked in a fashion house prior to his involvement in drinks, Tony cites a broad spectrum of influences in his work, from Bartenders and chefs, to perfumers, scientist, alchemy and designers. 'My influences don't always come from people - sometimes a movement in cuisine, or a book can affect me. Perfumers for example bring something very new to the equation.'
Tony has worked running bars for almost 12yrs in which time he has not only won considerable awards but found the time to write articles, consult, and has been at the vanguard of creating some of London's most respected drinks. As well as running/ opening some of London's top bars.
Awards, Accolades and Trophies
Shochu Lounge best bar team restaurant Awards 2007.
Shochu lounge timeout bar of the year 2005.
Shochu lounge best drinks list theme magazine 2005.
Shochu lounge best spirits list class magazine 2005.
Roka best new oriental restaurant carlton food awards 2005.
Zuma best restaurant Tatler 2003.
Lonsdale house timeout best bar 2004.
Hakkasan best design 2003.
Hakkasan 1 michlen star 2003.
Sosho match timeout best bar 2002.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Beer is can be just as an important offering as any. Dorothy Good Bottom is rather tasty.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Always make sure your customer is looked after first and foremost. Be organised it saves you so much unessasary stress.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders - care to share?
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
Make sure you pair some of the drinks with the food... taste, taste both food and drinks together.
How did you get started?
My dear friend Fabrice Limon convinced me to start on the bar.
How were you trained in bartending?
Classical drinks and the drinks of that period.
Did you take any courses?
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Big gin drink comeback and shochu is becoming more accepted.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
Taste, taste, taste. Be patient.
What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
Too many to mention.
What are some of your favorite tools?
Sous Vide machine.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
What does success mean for you?
Customers are happy and come back.
What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
More openness to new ideas.
What goes into creating a cocktail?
A lot of care.
And what inspired you in the first place?
It could be any thing from a flavour to a idea picked up from outside the industry.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
More of the same.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Your hangover cure?
Your biggest career influencer?
First drink you ever tried?
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Live on a boat in the caribbean.
Bar or cellar at home?
Nine popes - 2003
Star Bar Ginza, Tokyo
The Old man and the sea