Juggling fire: Meet Ami Shroff, India's first female flair bartender

CE speaks to the country’s first female flair bartender, Ami Shroff, who gets candid about her journey, lessons and tricks!
India’s first female flair bartender, Ami Shroff
India’s first female flair bartender, Ami Shroff

Bartending, as an art and profession is not talked about as much as it deserves to be. And flair bartending is a whole other ball game and for a woman to rule the industry is no easy task. Doing just that is the country’s first female flair bartender Ami Shroff. She, who is in town for a session at Novotel Airport, Gourmet Bar, gets candid with CE about her journey, challenges, and what’s on the cards.

Juggling with glass, liquids and fire is not an average skill but one that demands a lot of practice and perfection. Ami didn’t always grow up wanting to venture into this line. “The only reason I took it up was that it was different from the kind of jobs around me. I was 18 when I worked as a freelance and part-time bartender — it was an off thing that I hadn’t paid much attention to, so I can’t really pinpoint to say when I decided it was the job of my dreams. I remember watching the film Cocktail and realised I wanted to try flair bartending. I went ahead with it, cut to, me doing it for 18 years now,” she shares.

On being the country’s first woman flair bartender, she says that back when she started, flair was entirely a new concept for both men and women. “What pulled me to pursue it as a profession what if it grabbed my attention, I wanted to do that. The first time I started out flair bartending was when I met someone who did and asked him to teach me a few moves. Later, I picked up a few others from the movies and that’s how it came to be. Back then, it was a small industry, and though it has flourished today, the profession still has a tiny minority of women in the bar. We could still do more to make it balanced. Even kitchens are male-dominated and if that changes it would be a healthy change for the industry,” she tells CE.

Being the first and only woman back in the day was not an easy path to choose. Ami says, “The challenge of patriarchy exists, if you are not a man, you have challenges to face. To not have a balanced ratio of gender in itself was a challenge. Today, we are a little more aware of not being sexists and are trying to be politically incorrect, but we are still not at a stage where we genuinely do it and believe in equality of gender and all kinds of people. Until that happens, there will be difficulties and it is tough to name one. At the end of the day, you get out and do what you set out to and things will get normal.”

A lot of things around her inspire Ami to be and do the things she is and does. “Nature inspires me often and people in my life and how comfortable I feel with them and how we need each other do too. Sometimes great stories of people who are making a difference in the world or trying to follow a more sustainable lifestyle inspire me. When I entered the profession, flair bartending inspired me a lot, jugglers have inspired me, and elements in nature — all these moments inspire me. Even my cat inspires me,” she laughs.

Speaking about her session at Novotel, Ami says that they are making some interesting cocktails and some customisation of cocktails. “There is this performance with crystal ball juggling, which is different from bartending or flair bartending that has everyone drop their jaws,” she signs off.

Related Stories

No stories found.