Legendary “Modern Mixologist” Tony Abou-Ganim will host the Southwest Spirit Summit (TAGSSS) on November 16-18, 2012 at the Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. Widely regarded as one of the pioneering and leading bar professionals in the world, Abou-Ganim has made countless national TV appearances on shows including TODAY, Iron Chef America, Good Morning America, CNBC, Fox News and more. He is the author of The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails (Agate, 2010), the DVD Modern Mixology: Making Great Cocktails at Home and his upcoming book, Vodka Distilled, due for release in February 2013. Abou-Ganim has also won two Iron Chef America competitions; his first pairing cocktails with Iron Chef Mario Batali in “Battle Mango,” and most recently with Iron Chef Jose Garces in “Battle Tequila and Tortillas.”
“I’m thrilled to be hosting the Southwest Spirit Summit in conjunction with so many leaders in the cocktail industry,” said Abou-Ganim. “Casino del Sol Resort provides us with such a beautiful backdrop, and the event has something for everyone who is a fan of the cocktail culture. It’s really going to be a lot of fun.”
Presented by USBG Tucson and Casino del Sol, the Tony Abou-Ganim Southwest Spirit Summit (TAGSSS) is more than just another “cocktail week”—it’s a three day celebration of the spirits themselves, introducing hundreds of people from all over the country to the outstanding craft & high-end spirits that mixologists swear by on their cocktail lists. It’s also a celebration of the Spirits of the Southwest – a showcase for craft distillers in the southwestern United States, along with world-class brands, highlighting the care, precision, and craftsmanship that goes into every drop. 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.
Casino Del Sol Resort’s resident mixologist, and TAGSSS organizer, Aaron DeFeo, has worked tirelessly to bring Tucson to the forefront of the industry by spearheading what is now a nationally recognized resort cocktail program. DeFeo is looking forward to having a host of industry professionals over to his place for a drink.
“Hosting this event in Tucson, and specifically at Casino Del Sol Resort, shows the world that we know what we’re doing out here in the desert,” said DeFeo. “We have a sophisticated, fun, diverse food and beverage scene, and we’re not afraid to show it.”
The Tony Abou-Ganim Southwest Spirit Summit isn’t just about distilled spirits—it’s also about the human spirit. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Helen David Memorial Fund, honoring the memory of the beloved Port Huron, Michigan bar owner and community leader. Beating breast cancer twice during her life, Tony’s cousin Helen David is an inspiration to those living with the disease. The HDMF assists women in the bar industry who are fighting breast cancer with the dignity and courage Helen displayed through her struggles with the disease.
At Tony’s invitation, some of the pre-eminent spirit experts in the world will be in attendance including Steven Olson, Dale DeGroff, Ron Cooper, Bobby Gleason, Charlotte Voisey, Dave Grapshi, Robert Plotkin and others.
The lady mixologists will be well represented with the inclusion of the national Speed Rack Competition (http://www.speed-rack.com) 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.