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Don’t hold back from ordering from a female bartender
Friday, 09 September, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Harcha Bhaskar, Mumbai
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When a woman in India chooses to pursue an unconventional profession, it becomes a topic of discussion in every household. However, there are people who give in to their passion to do something new, thus making a difference to others’ lives.

Sarita Sharma, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar’s mixologist, was one of them. It was during her graduation in hospitality that she became aware and developed a liking for a career in bartending.

She belongs to a business family. Her sister is from a diagnostic field and her brother is an engineer.

When quizzed why she chose this offbeat career, Sharma said, “The idea of choosing mixology came to my mind when I was young. I wanted to pursue something different.”

“The plus points in my field are meeting new people, creating new ideas and experimenting with various beverages,” she noted.

“And one of the major issues in my field is how people perceive a lady bartender. It is against the norms of what regular people would want the women in their households to do,” Sharma added.

However, she was positive about her choice of career. She said, “By creating magic with drinks and practicing the art of mixology, I want to touch people’s hearts and make friends across the globe.”

The primary responsibility of a mixologist is to understand and study different beverages. A great deal of hard work goes is involved in maintaining stocks and procuring supplies when needed.

As a mixologist, it is a must to understand licensing. Regular meetings have to be carried out with beverage suppliers as well.

In India, bartending was perceived to be only working at the bar and making classic cocktails. But now, globally, it has reached a stage where beverages are treated like food.

Minute detailing is worked upon, and a lot of effort is put into ensuring that the flavours, textures and aroma are perfect.

Sharma, an avid follower of handball, played the sport at the national level. She said, “It was a male-dominated field. Guests used to look down upon female bartenders. I was ready to challenge the world with my art and flair.”

“However, my first job was filled with challenges which I had to face on a daily basis. That’s what helped me become more professional,” Sharma added.

“It wasn’t that difficult to convince my family, But my father was in a state of shock when I first told him that I would like to be a bartender. I have received mixed reactions from people regarding my choice of career,” she said.
Throughout her career, Sharma, who is inspired by Shatbi Basu, India’s first female bartender, has dealt with several beverages from different countries.

According to Sharma, many people are of the opinion that bartending is a male-driven profession and that women don’t fit in the field.

However, things are changing with global exposure and classic bar set-ups. The challenges one has to deal with are long working hours and uncanny customers.

The key is to love your job and passionately pursue it. That will eventually cause things to fall in place.

Talking about her personal experience, Sharma said, “Since I joined the profession, there have been a number of changes as far as female bartending is concerned. Society has opened up to this concept. That is a good feeling.”

“My advice to the readers is don’t hold yourself back from ordering from a female bartender. Women are good at mixology as well. Come and try a few of my concoction at JW Marriott Sahar,” she added.

Sharma stated, “Having fun at work is the best part of my job. Besides this, I really like the freedom I get to try new cocktails. Confidence, communication and creativity are the qualities that have shaped me as a person and taken me a long way in my career.”

Currently, Sharma is focusing on growing within JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar. But her long-standing dream is to work for Artesian, the finest bar in the world, and create a bar which would make the best cocktails in the world.
 
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