What cocktail startled Tony Abou-Ganim?
Negroni — I didn't like it when I first tried it. In my defense, it is a proven fact that even Italians have to try Campari three times before developing a liking for it. With that said, it was 1985, I had just moved to San Francisco and had never seen Campari before. I poured a glass of Campari with my best friend Greg and we both shot it down. And, yes, I thought it was one of the worst things I had ever tasted in my life.
It wasn't until five years later when I had the great opportunity to work with Harry Denton, and he opened Harry Denton's on Stuart Street and I met a gentleman by the name of David O'Malley, who is bringing me back from classics and were tasting through some drinks and he made Negronis for everyone, and I was like 'Oh my God, this is fabulous!'
It's funny, when I first moved to Las Vegas and went out to try and find bartenders who knew the drink and knew how to make it and who got as excited about making it as I did about drinking it. Generally, I was greeted with, 'Dude, we just ran out of Negroni,' or the best was, 'I don’t have Negroni, but I have Peroni.'