If you ever have the opportunity to watch legendary bar chef Tony Abou-Ganim in action, don't turn it down. There are several reasons for this: first, he's the definitive expert in mixology and bartending today. Second, his jokes ("what lasts longer: your marriage or a bottle of Angostura bitters?") will have you clutching your gut. And third, he'll make you aware of little details that you might have never otherwise noticed.
At his seminar in South Beach, Tony, who's referred to as the Modern Mixologist, left me — someone who regularly makes cocktails at home — aghast with regards to how many things I do wrong behind the bar. Not only did he set the record straight, but he made sure to explain in detail exactly why cocktails should be made in a certain way.
- What you're doing wrong: Not chilling your glassware. "A cold drink should always be served in a cold glass," he declared. At any given time, Abou-Ganim stores two to three different glasses in his freezer.
- What you're doing wrong: Buying that economy-sized club soda. Always buy small bottles. Tony buys the eight-ounce bottles and keeps them in the refrigerator for use any time.
- What you're doing wrong: Squeezing that lime juice ahead. "Limes are very fragile," Tony explained, "so you should always squeeze them à la minute." They should be used right away, because after 20 to 30 minutes, they become oxidized. Look for fruits with smooth, dark green skin and a soft, pliable touch.
Want to know what else you're doing wrong? Find out after the jump.