For the Love of Cocktails – Meet the Masters

Four of the greatest minds in cocktails come together for one incredible night.

There are few things in life more civilized than a nattily dressed bartender mixing up fantastic cocktails in a gorgeous lounge setting. The experience is made even better when you are being served by the top mixologists in the world and you learn something too. That is what the Meet the Masters event is all about. This event is part of For the Love of Cocktails (FTLOC), February 10th – 12th in Las Vegas. Four smartly dressed, exciting professionals behind the bar at one time mixing up specialty cocktails created specifically for this event as well as cocktails on demand. Of course each cocktail will feature your favorite premium brands, fresh ingredients and precise techniques.

Salvatore Calabrese

Salvatore Calabrese

I am a showman and plan to make sure that all who attend leave having had a cocktail experience like no other!! – Salvatore Calabrese

Salvatore Calabrese, The Maestro, has won dozens of awards in the field. He most recently was awarded the Industry Legend Award by Imbibe Magazine in 2015. He is perhaps most well-known for creating the world’s most expensive cocktail at the Playboy Club in Mayfair, London. At a whopping £5,500 per glass, including spirits with a combined age of 730 years, it is indeed an experience. In addition to several books, Salvatore is responsible for creating some of the most sought after cocktail experiences in the world from the Amalfi coast to our very own Bound by Salvatore in the Cromwell, the site for this exceptional event.

Tony Abou-Ganim

Tony Abou-Ganim

Las Vegas is perfect because of the bartending community! FTLOC is an opportunity for us to showcase our wonderful profession and the bartenders who make it so special.  – Tony Abou-Ganim

Tony Abou- Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, is a familiar face if you watch cooking and cocktail competitions and demonstrations.  He has made countless television appearances on programs ranging from Good Morning America to Iron Chef. The author of two cocktail cookbooks, his instructions are simple enough for a novice to follow (and end up looking like a rock star!), with complex flavors that experienced professionals can appreciate. Alongside his innovative mixology, he is also the founder of the Helen David Relief Fund (HDRF)*. The HDRF is the charity recipient of FTLOC and provides financial assistance to bartenders and their families that have been afflicted with breast cancer. His most famous cocktail, The Cable Car, was created for Harry Denton’s Starlight Room at the top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco.

Julio Cabrera

Julio Cabrera

My passion is my best tool. My smile, my secret ingredient – Julio Cabrera

Based out of Miami’s Regent Cocktail Club, Cuban native Julio Cabrera offers his unique spin on bartending. He labels himself a cantinero which is a professional bartender in Cuba with certified education in the field. In fact, he started the Cantinero Education program here in the states with Bacardi and has plans to expand it across the country. Growing up in the hospitality industry, he didn’t anticipate being a cantinero, but when the opportunity presented itself, he took it. His 25 year career has spanned the world and he is, in part, responsible for the renaissance of the cocktail scene in Miami. Like his fellow Masters, Julio is highly regarded, having multiple awards to his resume. He is however, the only GQ cover model in the bunch (Most Imaginative Bartender of the Year 2013). Julio says, “In Cuba to be a cantinero or bartender you have to go to school for one or two years. It’s a profession, when you go to school to be a cantinero it’s for life.”

Francesco Lafranconi

Francesco Lafranconi

We are fine promoters of civilization. – Francesco Lafranconi

Francesco Lafranconi, the Executive Director of Mixology and Spirits Educator for Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada rounds out the all-star slate of top-tier mixologists. Dashingly dressed and supremely sophisticated, he is a favorite of A-listers and fellow professionals because of his passion for the craft. Multiple award-winning, with an incredible career spanning Europe and the US, he is a fixture in the Las Vegas cocktail scene. His proudest achievement is founding the Academy of Spirits and Fine Service, a 12 week program designed to imbue cocktail professionals with the same enthusiasm and perfect technique he brings to every cocktail. His motto is, “We’re not drinking, we’re learning.”

Watch four amazing cocktail presentations, each designed by a Master and take advantage of one on one time with each Master, get books signed, and make great conversation. Start the evening with a one-of-a-kind experience at Bound by Salvatore at the Cromwell and continue the evening of outstanding flavors with a five course dinner and rare wine pairing at Giada. Seating is limited at this extraordinary, once in a lifetime event. For more details, the menu and ticketing, visit the FTLOC website. To sweeten the deal, half of your ticket price will be donated to the HDRF.

*The Helen David Relief Fund is administered by the USBG National Charity Foundation, a U.S. registered 501(c)3 nonprofit

Photo of Julio Cabrera courtesy of Julio Cabrera, used with permission

All other photos courtesy of BackBar USA, used with permission.

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