This UST graduate is a world-class bartender.

Kenneth Bandivas, who obtained a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2011, was named winner of the “Around the World” challenge of World Class 2015, the cocktail industry’s most prestigious mixology competition.

Bandivas bested 53 other bartenders with his drinks “Bitter Felipe,” an ampalaya infused cocktail mixed with lime, and “My First Float,” a Marula flavored cocktail with rum and syrup.

Aiming to pay homage to the Filipinos, Bandivas’ “drinks with a twist” relived all-time favorite drinks, but cream liquors provided extra twists to his pieces.

World Class 2015, hosted by Diageo Reserve bar in South Africa, was held last Sept. 4.

The local leg of the world competition commenced in January followed by the semi-finals held last July in Thailand, where Bandivas emerged as the World Class Philippine Bartender of the Year.

He said he was grateful to be part of an organization that promotes responsible drinking.

“I was honored to be here and to represent Philippines this year. [Diageo] World Class is the most prestigious bartending competition and I am very happy to be part of it,” Bandivas said in an email to the Varsitarian.

Valuing the Thomasian identity

Aside from the unique taste in mixing flavors, Kenneth also exhibited his unique way of dealing with the “challenges” through valuing the core values that the University had taught him—competence, compassion, and commitment.

“The three C’s are my core. As a Thomasian, you have to live on those core values. It will lead you to success,” he said.

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Bandivas is now the general manager of Alcohol by Volume, a speakeasy bar inspired by the prohibition era during the 1920’s which offers a range of top notch drinks, most of which were crafted by Bandivas.

On his last year working at Shangri-La Singapore, he was asked to make different cocktails and concepts for the hotel. Bandivas explored the service of bartending and experimented with the different flavors available that he could use in building different drinks.

“When it comes to cocktails, I always stick to the basic methods and give it a twist. There are tons of cocktails listed and created by a lot of bartenders. As much as possible, we always try to be unique,” Bandivas said.

When he came back to the Philippines, he joined the Makati Shangri-La where he was tasked to open and manage the different outlets. He opened the Vu’s Sky Bar and Lounge at the Marco Polo Davao Hotel last year.

Weeks before his stint in the World Class 2015, Bandivas launched “Señorita Marquez,” which he dedicated to his fiancée.

Bandivas is planning to conduct classes for people who want to learn about bartending and encourage them to contribute genuine ideas in their menu to satisfy the public with a new flair. Maria Corazon A. Inay


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