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Most Imaginative Bartender Canvas Project: Emilio Salehi

November 26, 2020

Story: Punch Staff

art: Nick Hensley

Emilio Salehi, national finalist in the 2020 Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, shares his beginner's guide to cocktail videography.

Emilio Salehi started the Instagram account Equal Parts Cocktail with his twin brother Miguel in order to showcase their cocktails and his passion for videography. What he didn’t expect was that filming drinks would teach him something about the creative process itself.

Salehi sees their videography collaboration as a way to showcase the symbiotic role between bartending and creative expression. “Videography gives me a platform, visibility, and has allowed me to create a name for myself outside of just bartending,” he says. “On the other side, as a bartender and as someone in the industry, it gives my content authenticity.”

Visual principles of foreground, background and framing have helped crystallize for him an idea that now drives his approach behind the bar: Drinks need a singular taste profile, just as a portrait brings an object into focus. “How do I get the truest essence of this flavor that I’m trying to put forward?” says Salehi. “A cocktail should have a flavor identity.”

Emilio Salehi on Cocktail Videography

About the Canvas Project

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin, in partnership with Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, is proud to present ‘The Canvas Project’, a content series featuring the creative passions of the 12 finalists in the 2020 Most Imaginative Bartender (MIB) Competition. From photography and videography, to home gardening tips and mindfulness tutorials, the webinars are designed to spark inspiration and discovery, and foster connection by sharing bartenders’ personal passions in times of hardship.

Last year’s iteration of MIB introduced the Canvas Challenge, a $25,000 grant awarded to a finalist to turn their creative vision into reality. This ambitious test further heightened the imagination component of the competition to a new level and served as a reinforcement of Bombay Sapphire’s belief in the innate creativity of bartenders, which often translates outside the glass as much as it does inside of it.

The episodes of ‘The Canvas Project’ are designed around the Canvas Challenge submissions of the 12 finalists, who hail from Portland to Atlanta, Toronto to Miami, giving viewers a peek inside the inner workings of the program.

Read More About Emilio
Emilio Salehi Most Imaginative Bartender

This Is What Creativity Means to Emilio Salehi

The San Francisco bartender on how videography has shaped his approach to bartending, his hack for building complex flavor profiles and the recipe for his In Bokeh cocktail.

In Bokeh Emilio Salehi Most Imaginative Bartender

In Bokeh

A floral gin-based cocktail elevated by pink rose bitters and vermouth infused with Candew melon, a cantaloupe-honeydew hybrid.


Meet the Most Imaginative Bartender National Finalists

The 12 bartenders from the U.S. and Canada advancing to the MIB national finals.