As India’s first female flair bartender, she thrives on balance and a can-do attitude that transcends the gender divide.
Ami Shroff, an award-winning mixologist, and performing artist has risen to the top of what was hitherto considered a very male profession. Flair bartending is about getting the perfect balance in a cocktail while you wow guests by juggling bottles with, well, a lot of flair. She is adept at fire flair as well as contact ball juggling and infuses these skills into her bartending.
Shroff, who has been selected as Mixologist of the Year by both INCA Awards (2019) and the Times Food & Nightlife Awards (2018) has won several other accolades throughout her career. She’s been featured in advertisements, given TEDx talks, and performed at a multitude of venues and events. Her expertise has seen her evolve into a bar consultant who curates cocktail menus for top-of-the-line establishments, while she also has had the top alcohol brands approach her for shoots and collaborations.
Like most other women, she too has experienced gender bias at various points of her career. “There’s sexism in so many spaces you don’t even realise how it’s affecting your professional and personal life in multiple ways. In fact, when you work in a male-dominated space, you don’t realise how different it feels until you start to work in a space which has more of a balance when it comes to employee gender,” she says.
Pre-conceived notions, stereotypes, men thinking women get preferential treatment… all this is all in a day’s work. “You’d be able to work so much more efficiently and freely if these obstacles in the form of gender bias didn’t exist but since they do, all you can do is just focus on your work,” is Shroff’s practical approach to patriarchy.
She admits that, as a beginner, she didn’t notice it as much. But when she did start to realise, she actually thought that this was the reality of the hospitality industry and just tried to ignore such instances. “As I got more confident, I started dealing with it differently. Instead of ignoring it, I started addressing it. That’s when it stops happening,” Shroff avers.