Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson Cocktails: Tony Abou-Ganim Southwest Spirit Summit Nov 16-18

The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim
The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim (Photo credit: Maitri)

Tucson is one helluva drinking town. There’s never a shortage of wine, wine tasting, and wine dinners. The same can be said for beer festivals and brewing contests. Tucson has its own World Margarita Championship (Oct. 26). The New York Times named tiny 47 Scott & Co as one of the 10 best places to have cocktails in the U.S. And now Casino del Sol Resort will be hosting a national cocktail event in November. Tickets on sale now.

from the press release

Tucson, Ariz—To those who have attended  the Tucson Culinary Festival for the past 5 years, the  legendary “Modern Mixologist” Tony Abou Ganim is a familiar face. Others will know him from his appearances on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, paired with such notable Chefs as Mario Batali and most recently with east coast star Chef Jose Garces – both winning challenges.

In 2010, Abou-Ganim was hired as a consultant at  Tucson’s Pasqua Yaqui enterprise, Casino del Sol, to design a world class beverage program there similar to the one he created for the  Bellagio in Las Vegas. With his strong ties to the Southwest, it’s no surprise that he has agreed to host his very first professional event in Tucson this November 16 -18.

Sponsored by Casino Del Sol Resort, the Tony Abou-Ganim Southwest Spirit Summit is planned to be a three day celebration of spiris that will bring together leading talents, brand representatives, and well-known chefs in an exciting three day adventure in mixology, cuisine and fun.  Members of the food and beverage trade and the public are invited to attend the weekend which will include seminars, action-packed competitions, tasting events, cocktail dinners and more.

Beneficiaries are The Helen David Memorial Fund For Breast Cancer which provides support for families of bartenders whose relative has been affected with the disease, the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans and Speed Rack – the exciting national women’s bartending challenge that raises funds to benefit Breast Cancer research.

At Tony’s invitation, some of the finest spirit experts in the world will be in attendance including Steven Olson, Dale DeGroff, Ron Cooper, Charlotte Voisey, Dave Grapshi, Robert Plotkin and others.  The lady mixologists will be equally represented with the inclusion of the national Speed Rack Competition   which will kick off its annual national tour in Tucson at the Tony Abou-Ganim Southwest Spirit Summit.

Founders Lynette Marrero and Ivy Mix are superstar mixologists who created the Speed Rack national cocktail competition that features top female bartenders in key cocktail markets and puts them head to head in action packed timed and judged challenges. Speed Rack is the first competition created to highlight the up and coming generation of strong, talented women in the spirits industry.   Proceeds from all Speed Rack Competitions go towards breast cancer research and services throughout the United States.

The Tony Abou-Ganim Southwest Spirit Summit is being coordinated locally by one of Tucson’s own leading mixologists, Aaron DeFeo, who manages the outstanding beverage program at Casino del Sol Resort.  As the founder of the first Tucson USBG (United States Bartenders Guild) branch, he is thrilled with the opportunity to create a major signature event for Tucson that brings together the best of local and national talents.  “Tucson is blessed with an amazing collection of food and beverage pros.  It’s very exciting that all the pieces have come together with Tony, the Casino staff, experts from all over the country, all gathering here for what I know will be an exceptional event in November”.

Tickets on sale now.

Friday, November 16
— Happy Hour:  Featuring specialty cocktails and spirit tastings ~ 5 – 7pm
— Opening BBQ Bash: Hosted by Jim Beam. Featuring great whiskey -inspired BBQ barbecue, cocktails and live music  ~ 7 -11pm
— Cocktail Dinner #1:  Multi-course dinner paired with cocktails ~ 8-10pm

Saturday, November 17th
— Tasting Floor:  12 to 5 pm
—  Seminar #1:  Understanding Agave w/ Steve Olson, Dave Grapshi, and Ron Cooper
11:30 am – 12:45 pm
—  Seminar #2:  Ladies of LUPEC Seminar with Lynette Marrero and Ivy Mix ~ 1– 2:15 pm
—   Seminar #3:  History of Arizona Saloons Seminar with Jason Asher ~ 2:30 -3:45pm
—   Seminar #4: American Whiskey Seminar with Bobby Gleason and Fred Noe  ~ 2:30-3:45pm
—   Happy Hour:  Pop-up Tiki happy hour featuring Tiki cocktails ~5 – 7pm (I love Tiki!)
—   Iron Chef Challenge:  Tony Abou-Ganim vs Aaron DeFeo ~ 4:00 – 5:30pm
—    Cocktail Dinner #2: Tony Abou-Ganim Iron Chef Dinner highlighting the dishes and       paired cocktails from  their winning Iron Chef America collaboration~ 8-10pm
—   Tequila Dinner #3: Multi course dinner paired with Tequila Cocktails at the Tequila Factory 8-10pm
—   Nightcap:  Cocktails in the Prema Lounge ~ 10-12pm
Sunday, November 18th
—   Seminar #5: Gin Daisies w/ Charlotte Voisey  ~11:30am-12:45pm
—   Tasting Floor:  12 to 5pm
—   Seminar #8: Aperitifs ~ 1-2:15pm
—   Seminar #6: Ladies Only – Bombay Sapphire Presents: Hands-on with Tony Abou-Ganim includes a complete set of TAG bar tools-~1-2:30pm
—   Seminar #7:  American Tiki Seminar ~2:00-3:15pm
—   Speedrack National Competition – Southwest leg of the exciting national event featuring some of the nation’s best female bartenders in an exciting challenge~ 3-7pm
—    Cocktail Dinner #3: “On the Town” featuring Dale DeGroff, (a portion of proceeds to benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail)~ 6:30– 8:30pm
—  2nd Annual Southern AZ Classic featuring Arizona’s best mixologists battling it out. ~ 8-12pm.
—    Farewell Party ~ 8-12pm

All-Access Pass:  Includes both tasting floors, competitions, happy hours, Bourbon BBQ, Seminars #2 #4 and farewell party   General Public: $125; Trade  $75

Bourbon BBQ:    $40 per person
Tasting Floor:  (good for Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 17th & 18th)   —  General Public $50; Trade $25
Seminar #1, #3, #5, #7   —  $40 each
Seminar #6:    — $100
Cocktail Dinner #1: Multi course cocktail paired dinner:   $75 (includes gratuity)
Spirited Dinner #2: Tony Abou-Ganim Iron Chef Dinner Presentation  —       $175 (includes gratuity)
Spirited Dinner #3: “On the Town” with Dale DeGroff  — $75 (includes gratuity)
Speed Rack National Competition: included in all access pass or   $20
Southern AZ Cocktail Classic/Farewell Party: included in all access pass or   $40
Special Room Rates available for event attendees TBA.

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