Mumbai’s own Margherita

She might look a little out of place, operating as she is, in a man’s lair, but Mumbai based mixologist Ami Shroff can certainly turn more than a few heads with her pizzazz at work.
The 27-year-old sprightly bartender is quite a pathbreaker when it comes to spinning bottles and mixing drinks. Watch her in action at a watering hole and you know what we mean. Brewing, mixing, shaking, juggling, are are right up this girl’s sleeve, as she shows off her tricks on a bar-table, literally setting it afire.
“Flair bartending is dance and sport combined. It involves serious hand-eye co-ordination, rigorous practice and the unwavering focus of an eagle,” says Ami. Already a popular face on TV, this dashing young lady won the first season of the exciting reality show Captain Shack on MTV early this year. Quite a regular in ad commercials for a slew of reputed brands, Ami has also made an appearance in movies like Naksha in cameos. Next up for her is the country’s most popular and eclectic talent hunt, India's Got Talent. We chat up with the sprightly woman to know more.

Juggling drinks and a whole lot of things
Besides wowing audiences at snazzy pubs, Ami is a degree holder in philosophy and political science. An alumnus of Jai Hind College, she has also pursued law for a few years.
Her thirst for scaling lofty heights also drove her to do a mountaineering course from ABVIMAS in Manali and NIM at Uttarkashi. “If bartending allows me to stash enough cash in my purse, then someday, I'd love to answer a getaway call from the madding crowd and trek up the mountains, wade through forests and walk along beaches. I also have a thing for rock climbing,” she confesses.

Flair bartending
Flair bartending is the art of juggling, flinging, tossing and manipulating a host of objects like bottles, glasses, scoopers, spoons, ice etc. lined up across the long counter in a bar. Involving complete showmanship, the process of preparing a drink is by itself a feast to the eyes. The effort adds as much fun to a bartender's job as it provides an electrifying visual treat to a crowd of connoisseurs. “Flair is precisely what pulled me to this profession and is the primary reason that am a bartender today,” says Ami.

Cocktail belle
I am a freelancer and usually have another day job to do. People specially call me to brew and concoct different cocktails which are innovative and experimental in content or just prepare classic favourites of popular choice. My favourite drink is honestly ‘a cup of chai’ — from plain simple Indian tea to but spicy, raw and all other kinds of foreign brews. And I don’t really enjoy alcohol but I like the Spanish red sangria.

No bounds to creativity
The more you can push the envelope with your own inculcated skills, the merrier. The idea is to thrive on one's individual merit. But for an entertaining performance, the artiste must keep many factors in mind. It is a visual teaser. So the performer must be bang on with his body language, his moves, his timing with the music and various other nitty-gritty details to jazz up his painstaking efforts. It is a technical craft but a spontaneous zing can always fetch in those extra grace marks. So even a small slip-up can be costly.
Eye on the future pie: There are a zillion plans up my alley, but it's not that I want to do everything at the same time. I am a little idealistic you see. I plan a lot and then end up playing it by the ear. The one place that I want to see myself in future is in the skin a street performer.

Sporty siren:
Had I not been a bartender, I would be into sports. I have a nimble, happy foot that pushed and prodded me to play anything under the sun which my grip could grab all my school-college life. And believe me, I even went to national level in the game of handball. In absence of bartending as a vocation, I would still be left with enough time for juggling I guess (smiles)!

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