Five minutes over the bar with bartender Tony Conigliaro

Bartender Tony Conigliaro's formula for the perfect martini is five parts gin, one part vermouth, with a twist of lemon.
Bartender Tony Conigliaro's formula for the perfect martini is five parts gin, one part vermouth, with a twist of lemon. Photo: Shutterstock

What does one of the world's best bartenders drink when he's not manning the shakers? And why does he make people serve themselves at parties?

London bartender Tony Conigliaro (69 Colebrooke Row, Bar Termini and Untitled) has teamed up with restaurateur and designer Maurice Terzini (Icebergs, the Dolphin, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta, 10 Pieces) and rock'n'roll creative director-fashion handsome boy Justin O'Shea (how many people can you name who have both Metallica and Mytheresa in their resumes?) to make their own gin.

They've called it Goldy. Is it delicious? Who knows. But given their combined resumes, it's a terrifying amount of cool in one bottle. 

Tony Conigliaro.
Tony Conigliaro. Photo: Mattia Pelizzari

Over five minutes across a bar, we fired a bunch of questions at him.

Why is a martini so often a drink people are afraid to make at home?

I'm not sure they are any more. I think people are becoming more and more confident at making drinks at home and having fun being Bond or Vesper Lynd.

If you're throwing a party, what drinks do you serve your guests and why?

Long drinks but made in big punch bowls so people can help themselves – you also need to be a host at a party and not get stuck in the kitchen.

If there was only one drink you could imbibe for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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A martini – five parts gin, one part vermouth, with a twist.

What drink could you happily never make again?

A woo woo. (That's vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice.)

What's your best line from someone sitting alone at the bar?

I once heard a guy say, at full volume, "Nurse! Nurse! I'm dying here and need medicating."

Sweet, dry or perfect Manhattan?

Dry. The rest are a waste of time.

Goldy Gin launches in Australia on Thursday, November 16, and will be available at Icebergs and The Dolphin (Sydney) and Bar Americano (Melbourne) and online at drnks.com.