Philip Khandehrish is Miami's most imaginative bartender.
Khandehrish and nine other of Miami's best cocktail crafters competed in the competition, which was judged by a team of professionals including Ian MacIaren, Jamie Evans, Ben Carlotto, and Julio Cabrera. Cabrera, bartender at The Regent Cocktail Club, had firsthand experience in choosing a victor as he was last year's winner of the competition, advancing to the USA finals in Las Vegas where he snagged the title of the United States' Most Imaginative Bartender and landed a GQ cover. Also new for this year, guests were invited to sample the cocktails and vote for their favorite libation.
High off his win, Khandehrish told Short Order that he's feeling, "so many feelings. I'm humbled. I'm excited. This is one title I've always wanted to go for. For me, it was personally gratifying."
The talented bartender said he got the inspiration for his winning cocktail, the Alluring Gem, from the Bombay Sapphire he was tasked to incorporate into his creation. "I wanted to focus on the Bombay Sapphire, so I took three of the botanicals in the spirit and made of shrub out of them, using a lavender vinegar to bring an extra note of fruity tartness. The lavender Martin Bianco gave it some missing characteristics."
Khandehrish, who advances to the U.S. finals in Las Vegas where he will compete against the country's best bartenders, is confident about his talents. "My intention is to go all the way. I'm going to take it as far as I can. I'm going to try 1,000 percent to make sure it happens."
When asked how he feels about getting the torch passed to him from last year's winner, Julio Cabrera, Khandehrish said he had big shoes to fill. "If I could fit in half his footsteps, I would be honored. Julio is a great bartender and has been a mentor."
The Alluring Gem might be part of the Setai's new fall menu, but if you stop in and ask nicely, Khandehrish might just fix you up one. "I'm going to keep some of the ingredients at the bar so people can taste it if they really want to."
Or check out the Setai's After the Sunset party every Thursday evening from 8 to 11 p.m., where Miami's Most Imaginative Bartender mixes up reduced-priced cocktails and pours half-priced wines.
Here's the recipe for the Alluring Gem, courtesy Bombay Sapphire.
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The Alluring Gem
- 1 1/2 oz. Bombay sapphire Gin
- 3/4 oz. Sapphire shrub (made with juniper, coriander, and angelica)
- 3/4 oz. Lavender-infused Martini Bianco