No one, perhaps, geeks out more over spirits and mixology than Monte Carlo beverage manager and mixologist Philip Dow. “I want to teach about alcohol and I want to play with drinks every day; that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. And, Vegas really is a place that gives me an opportunity to do that.”

For three years, the Miami native has worked on the beverage program, fine-tuning the cocktail offerings at the property’s restaurants and bars. “What we’re about is providing that craft experience, not cutting corners when it comes to quality, and also making sure our staff is trained well in technique,” he explained. “It’s really giving each one of our outlets a specific identity. Specialty beers go to The Pub. Expanding the whiskey list to 108 labels at Hit Lounge. Brand lounge, it’s about scotch and

cognac. Ignite really focuses on rum, and Diablo’s focus is on tequila.”

To some, the task of planning that many cocktail menus might seem overwhelming. But for Dow, it’s just the opposite. “It’s my playtime,” he said. “It’s my fun.”

This week, Dow gets to have even more fun in the art of cocktailing—he’s serving as one of the mixologists for the third annual For the Love of Cocktails event, Feb. 10-12. Part event, part fundraiser, For the Love of Cocktails invites thousands of mixologists from across the nation to celebrate in the shared love of cocktails. The event ends with a Grand Gala, and Dow will be there, whipping up around 1,000 glasses of his own specialty cocktail, Straight Bananas. “It’s a chance for mixologists to come out and showcase something fun, unique, and tell a little bit about who we are, in a glass,” he said.

Straight Bananas

Straight Bananas

“I love spirits. I love their backstories, it’s like history in a glass. I guess I really am just a big nerd,” he said, with a big smile.

Straight Bananas

Each mixologist participating in For the Love of Cocktails Grand Gala was assigned a spirit and asked to create a cocktail implementing that spirit. Dow was given Knob Creek bourbon. “I was inspired by food, and, for me, one of the things that is a comfort food, and is a little extravagant, is bananas Foster,” Dow said. “So, I made a slightly deconstructed bananas Foster.” Dow mixes Knob Creek with orgeat syrup, lemon juice and a house-made whipped bananas Foster ice cream base. The base, dispensed through an aerating canister called a “whipper,” tops off the drink. It’s garnished with a dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Taste this and other cocktails at the Grand Gala. Visit for more info.