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Displaying high spirits

She conducts workshops, designs pubs and heads an academy of bartending. Meet Shatbhi Basu, the person who spreads high spirits.

COCKTAIL LOUNGE: Shatbhi Basu wears many hats. — Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

ONE RARELY comes across women who break into the male bastion and in the right spirit. "I never thought I was entering a male bastion, since you find guys everywhere in F&B. You have to work hard with the other male colleagues. And bartending was challenging because the products were not available then," says Shatbhi Basu who was in town recently for a workshop series on bartending.

And how did bartending happen to her? "We learnt beverages as part of the three-year course, the theoretical knowledge was there but the practise was missing. The more I learnt about bartending, the more interesting it turned out to be," says the IHM Mumbai graduate, class of 1980. And today she wears several hats apart from conducting training workshops in bartending, wine appreciation and mixing cocktails.

Shatbhi has designed and set up the pubs with the menu such as The Tavern & Beyond, The Fariyas Hotel, Mumbai and the lobby bar Mattancherry, Taj Malabar, Cochin. Currently she is the bar consultant to Velocity, Silk Route, The Leela, Mumbai, Fashion TV Bar, Bangalore, Cidade de Goa and more.

Her career graph also includes a stint with an ad agency, client servicing, food and beverages accounts to contributing columns in the F&B glossies. She, in fact authored a comprehensive guide to alcoholic beverages and cocktails relevant to Indian conditions - The can't go wrong book of cocktails, the hard bound edition would be hitting the shelves by October, she says. Shatbhi also answers queries on the online liquor community "People want to know more about liquor buying, use and etiquette. A lot of mails come in these days since people are travelling more," she says.

In fact she established the first ever and much-required platform for professional, student and amateur bar tenders in the country, the annual bartenders meet organised by STIR-Academy of Bartending at Revival, Mumbai, the institution of professional bartending she started in 1999. "Unfortunately I have had only four girls so far attending my bartending programme. Hopefully the trend might increase," she says. Content at the moment, "I am happy with what I am doing. I want to expand the academy by making the meet national and hopefully go towards an international recognition for STIR," she says. A toast to that.


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