Meet Ami Shroff, India’s bartending champ
“I am constantly improvising my tricks. I get bored doing the same tricks,” she says.
“Besides entertaining audiences, I like taking part in competitions. It helps me learn and meet new people,” Shroff adds.
After winning the India championship in December 2014, she was one of the finalists to represent India in the Regional Finals of La Maison Cointreau, an all-women bartending competition held in Bangkok, Thailand in January 2015.
I had been working since the age of 15, doing odd jobs as a saleswoman, co-ordinating at events and exhibitions, part-time alongside attending college.
I was about 18 when I attended this event where two guys — Ankit and Shawn Dsouza — were performing stunts at the bar.
Bartending was still catching up around that time, but mostly men enrolled for it. I was intrigued and wanted to try it myself.
My friend Delnaz and I signed up to work at a resto-bar in Mumbai and learned some tricks on the job. I gave my first performance at the Enigma festival in Goa and the rest is history.
Initially I could not inform my parents that I wanted to be a bartender because I knew they would be upset.
My parents — my father is a lawyer, mother, a professor — would care less about my choice of career, but rather about my safety.
So I told them much later and they weren’t very happy about it.
However, one of my father’s friends happened to see me at one of these events and he was quite surprised with my talent.
He immediately called my father and appreciated my work.
Gradually my parents gave in and understood that this is what I loved to do.
I have never been to a bartending school so I am not a certified bartender.