Gary "gaz" Regan, a cocktail pioneer and well-known beverage industry personality, died on November 15, 2019, at 68, following a battle with cancer.\r\n\r\nRegan was best known as the author of The Joy of Mixology (Clarkson Potter, 2003), and published a revised version in 2018. An influential work that classified drinks into \u201ccocktail families,\u201d it helped to demystify life behind the bar. He was also known as a \u201cmentor\u2019s mentor,\u201d a guiding light who helped shape today\u2019s bar culture as we know it.\r\n\r\nBorn in Rochdale, Lancashire, England, Regan was the son of pub owners. He moved to New York City at 22, where he worked a number of bartending jobs throughout the 1970s and \u201980s. Eventually, he took a position at the North Star Pub in Manhattan\u2019s South Street Seaport. He worked there for four years, which he credited with informing his perspectives about the bar business and hospitality.\r\n\r\nAccording to author and cocktail historian David Wondrich, Regan\u2019s perspective was unique. Unlike some of his peers, Regan wasn\u2019t a product of the New York City high-end cocktail lounge tradition, or the culinary or hotel worlds.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe came out of the rock \u2019n\u2019 roll 1960s and 1970s, and like the best rock \u2019n\u2019 roll of the time, he combined flash and cheek and energy with great technical skill,\u201d says Wondrich. Regan was also notably unpretentious. \u201cHe was always far more interested in the life of a bar than in the minutiae of his drink mixing.\u201d\r\n\r\nIf you spent five minutes with Regan, you were usually treated to an anecdote or the spinning of a tale. It\u2019s a skill he felt any good bartender should have, and he incorporated it into his style early in his career.\r\n\r\nAs Regan himself put it: \u201cI learned the power of storytelling and the entertainment value of the liquor and bar businesses.\u201d\r\n\r\nCertainly, Regan was known as not just an authority on cocktails, but also an entertainer. He was impossible to miss. Depending on the year, he might have been spotted in his signature dark eyeliner that often rung just one eye, a colorful caftan or long, flowing gray hair and a beard.\r\n\r\nStarting in the early 1990s, Regan transferred his love of storytelling into print. This was included in the pages of Wine Enthusiast, where he was a contributing editor from 2001 through 2008. He also had regular work in Food Arts and the San Francisco Chronicle, where his column, \u201cThe Cocktailian,\u201d was considered a must-read.\r\n\r\n\u201cGary kept the time of this industry in the days before the internet,\u201d says Frank Caiafa, beverage director at The Stayton Room in New York City. \u201cHe created the new mold and was the first to remind us of what this job is and what we are supposed to be: guests first, recipes and bullshit later.\u201d\r\n\r\nA prolific author, Regan published 18 books. His first book was The Bartender\u2019s Bible (Harper Collins, 1991). Between 1995 and 1998, with Mardee Haidin Regan, he co-wrote The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998), The Bourbon Companion (Running Press, 1998), New Classic Cocktails (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002) and The Martini Companion (Running Press, 1997). In addition to The Joy of Mixology, Regan self-published The Negroni: A gaz regan Notion. It was re-released in 2015 by Ten Speed Press as The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita, with Recipes & Lore.\r\n\r\nThe Negroni became one of his calling cards. An ongoing joke that involved stirring Negronis with his finger led barware company Cocktail Kingdom to create a stainless-steel \u201cfinger stirrer\u201d cast from Regan\u2019s finger.\r\n\r\nIn 2003, Regan developed tongue cancer. That experience led him to develop what he described as \u201cmindful bartending.\u201d The philosophy was that bartenders have the ability to react to and steer the energy within a bar.\r\n\r\nHe moved from Manhattan to Cornwall-on-Hudson, where he adopted the lower-case name \u201cgaz.\u201d Noting that orange bitters were called for in many classic recipes, but were nearly impossible to find, he developed Regan\u2019s Orange Bitters No. 6.\r\n\r\nHe also taught a two-day course for bartenders, \u201cCocktails in the Country,\u201d at a time when education in what we now think of as craft cocktails was rare. Many of today\u2019s top bartenders passed through his school, which included Jim Meehan, founder of New York City\u2019s lauded PDT bar and author of Meehan\u2019s Bartender Manual (Ten Speed Press, 2017).\r\n\r\n\u201cGary Regan inspired our industry\u2019s \u2018joy of mixology\u2019 through his life and early work, and later, stuck his finger in the glass\u2014literally and figuratively\u2014when some of us took it too seriously,\u201d says Meehan. \u201cHe was always a few steps ahead of the curve, from books to bitters to bar tools. But his focus remained on the well-being of bartenders all over the world.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn his passing, bartenders have lost their most loyal champion and, for me personally, I\u2019ll miss my doting friend.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs one of the industry\u2019s pioneers, Regan was sought as a guest bartender, consultant, public speaker and expert. He was seemingly tireless. If there was a cocktail conference, Regan was always there and telling cheeky stories about life behind the bar.\r\n\r\nThose stories, which he imparted to a generation of bartenders, and the next generation or two after that via his classes, writing and public appearances, were a key part of his legacy. His lively, often bawdy wit and leadership in the cocktail world will be missed.