What does Tony Abou-Ganim think makes a great bartender?

I had a cancelled flight, and I missed my connection. I was in New York City at the Bowery, got to my hotel, the room wasn’t ready. But the bar was open. It was just before lunchtime, and the bar was setting up. I said, "Are you open?" And the bartender said, "Come on in. Sit down. How are you doing?" I said, "Well, I’m better now. How about a Negroni?" He said, "Do you have a preference in gin?" And they were the most beautiful words I’d ever heard. He made me a beautiful Negroni, and I just unwound for about 45 minutes. So now, I try to stay at that hotel when I’m in New York City. When you’re a bartender, you never know what your guest has gone through that day before they got to your bar. To me, that’s the true gift of bartending. That interaction with a guest is what makes a great bartender.

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