The first woman bartender in India, Shatbhi Basu believes in shattering stereotypes.
Her silver curls gleam with the brand equity she has earned on the dint of her ingenuity with spirits, pouring her passion and hard work into her calling. Shatbhi Basu is a virtual institution in the bartending industry. Being the first woman on the turf in the country makes her the iconic trailblazer.
She is the creative heart, powering Stir Academy of Bartending, and every mixologist worth his or her salt has honed skills under her tutelage. “Who I am is a direct result of the spirits I have worked with along the way. Every sniff, look, shake, stir, and sip has taught me things no classroom ever could. My profession has taught me everything: From geography to history, culture and heritage, science and technology, people skills, patience, and the ability to think on my feet. It has allowed me to find myself and become “me”,” she confesses with a satisfied smile. From making a foray in a male-dominated profession, in the 80s, to today, Shatbhi is one of the most sought after beverage consultants in the country and has played brand ambassador to different labels, hosted TV shows, created menus and user-friendly bars.
“A great bartender is someone to reckon with. The bar scape has evolved radically and there is an appreciation for the immense knowledge and skills that make up our profession, that thrives on gender diversity and inclusion,” she says.
What fuels her dynamism is her excitement at discovering flavours, nuances and the play between food and drink. That is infinite. Who inspires her? “All the women in my family, beginning with my mom,” she laughs. “They are all so strong, educated, independent and courageous. I couldn’t be anything else.”
(As told to Shilpi Madan)