Tony Conigliaro Never Travels Without A Notebook, Night Nurse

Tony Conigliaro capped a productive 2012 with a flourish, opening his first cocktail bar outside his hometown London, Le Coq in Paris. Known as one of the most creative minds in the cocktail industry, Conigliaro also continued to experiment with flavors and spirits at his two London bars, the mystical 69 Colebrooke Row and the unnamed bar in the lobby of the Zetter Townhouse. Want to try to a martini meant to evoke a hike through an Oregon forest, made with the essence of actual trees? Or his now-famous Prairie Oyster, a funny riff on the Bloody Mary? Conigliaro's bars are worth the trip for these concoctions alone, but it helps that his eye for design and detail is also spot-on. So where's he looking for inspiration this year? Let's find out...

Where are you planning on traveling in 2013?

Vietnam, Cuba, plus I'm sure a few others will arise.

If you could travel anywhere (else), and had infinite resources, where would you go in 2013?

I would go back to Japan; it is a stunning country. Or the Amazon. There are so many fruits, crazy ingredients that never make it out of the [Amazon] — I could spend years exploring them.

How much does food/drink have to do, if at all, with your travel plans for 2013?

Food and drink have to do with all of my plans, all the time. I travel with flavours and new ingredients always in mind.

What was your most memorable trip from the past few years?

My most memorable trip was taking the Eurostar to Paris to open up my new bar, Le Coq. It is truly a dream come true to have a cocktail bar in Paris.

What airlines do you fly? Do you have any frequent flier programs?

My wife has gold status with Star Alliance, which includes United and Air New Zealand, so we use that a lot. I just flew to New Zealand with Air New Zealand and it was the best flight I have ever taken. They are the nicest airline on the planet. I also fly Virgin quite a lot.

What about hotels? Any standout places that you've stayed or would like to stay?

Hotel Costes in Paris is one of the finest in Paris. The new NoMad hotel in NYC is utterly beautiful with a great bar. And I would be utterly remiss if I didn't mention the Zetter Townhouse here in London...

What are you favorite cities for food?

Tokyo, Barcelona, Paris and Moscow.

Is there a food you have traveled over 1,000 miles for?

Brazil, to eat at Alex Atala's DOM. Worth every mile.

Best travel advice you have been given lately and who gave it to you?

Take Night Nurse [cold tablets]. I gave myself this advice.

Best food-related souvenir that you have ever brought back?

Every country I go to I bring something back with me. I've got a huge international larder in the Drink Factory kitchen.

Any favorite cocktail/beer/wine spots from your travels?

41 and Mutis in Barcelona. Chateaubriand in Paris — Franck [Audoux]'s natural wine program is changing the world. Love the Varnish in Los Angeles, they're like family. (Related: Cedd Moses Bet Big On Los Angeles Nightlife)

Have you ever brought beer/wine/booze back from someplace?

I brought back a bottle of Shochu I distilled myself from Japan. That was pretty cool.

Any must-have travel items?

Eye mask, earplugs and notebook. I never go anywhere without my notebook — I never know when I might get an idea.

Best travel nightmare story?

I was in Japan and couldn't communicate with my taxi driver going back to the airport, so he took me to the wrong airport. I missed my flight and had a choice to either take the next flight and pay a lot to get back or re-schedule for another day. I paid a lot.

Earlier: Michael Chernow Will Travel For Food, Snowboarding