In a country where girls are often disregarded as a burden or liability (even in this century), it takes more than plain determination, and nerves of steel, to stand up and be something you always dreamed of being. This is especially true, when your chosen dream is to be a bartender. And it’s not just any bartending, but a flair bartending.

So here’s presenting Ami Shroff, a name synonymous with flair bartending, not just in Mumbai but everywhere in India. When you Google her young name, you will come across a series of search results. At the girlish age of 26 years, Ami has carved not just a niche for herself, but created a world of opportunities for women in the field of juggling bottles  or bartending.

What started out as a hobby in college soon became a passion and eventually, a successful profession. Let’s talk to Ami Shroff, a professional flair bartender from Mumbai. In conversation with her is our writer, Paroma Sen-Basu

How did you come across flair bartending?

My first live encounter with flair was at an event, where three of my friends and I were present. We were in college at that time, and every extraordinary profession or entertainment act captivated us. That was the time the urge to be someone different, someone unique was high. We saw a bartender flaring at the show. That one bartender changed everything. The magical way in which he flung bottles in the air and caught them, then lit them on fire and caught them again was amazing. Flair bartending is the art of bartending with fire.

It was almost like a dance of its own and his performance was being watched attentively by everyone in the room.  This is how I came across bartending.

What made you pick this as a career?

A few months after I saw my first flair bartending show, with a little training of our own, my friends and I landed at a gig in Goa. We had no experience, but were committed to learn on the job. This is how it all began. As a profession, it is a tad bit unique. But that works for me.