Notorious for ground-breaking riffs on classic drinks, Tony Conigliaro is one of the most active bartenders in the field of molecular mixology. Hailing from London, he's widely acknowledged as one of the UK's pioneering cocktail creators.
It was in 2001, while working on the Isola cocktail menu, that he first began to experiment with innovative culinary techniques and methods, adapting them to suit his mixology needs. Ingredients like green tea powder and sous vide apples found their way into his drinks, and the London bar scene hasn't been the same since.
Conigliaro has worked for many of London's premier cocktail bars, including Isola and Shochu Lounge. He's also collaborated with UK three-star Michelin Chef Heston Blumenthal to create the cocktail menu at The Fat Duck—not a task to be trusted to just any beverage shaker.
Having studied art and art history and worked in a fashion house, prior to his involvement in mixology, Conigliaro cites a broad spectrum of influences in his work - from bartenders and chefs, to scientists, alchemists, designers, and perfumers.
“My influences don’t always come from people— sometimes a movement in cuisine or a book can affect me. Perfumers, for example, bring something very new to the equation,” he says. A more recent concoction combines a classic perfume and classic cocktail: Chanel No. 5 and a Champagne cocktail to create his "No. 5 Champagne Cocktail." Conigliaro created a food-grade essence from the perfume so that "as the drink gets to the table, you have a very faint smell of the perfume which evokes memory and emotion... It's not just all about flavor. It's about smell, sight."
Conigliaro opened his “bar with no name” at 69 Colebrook Row in London last year, with its own laboratory located upstairs, and was also recently named “International Bartender of the Year” at the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.