Meet Cindy Lalramngaihzuali
As an industry, bartending for women is still looked upon as an unconventional profession in India. So, how do you deal with the stigma related to it on an everyday basis?
I’m very young in this profession and I’m fortunate that my experiences have allowed me to grow and find my space. I think a lot depends on the company one joins, and it can shape one’s view very differently. With my regular clients, my work environment, my managers, my mentors, I haven’t faced something that affects me like that everyday, but I know that this is not the case for every woman in the profession. I do feel things are getting better day by day.
Why hiring more female bartenders is important to our society?
I think we need more ladies in the industry overall, not just behind the bar. In professional kitchens, on the floor and in other roles too. I started my own career as a server and got fascinated by the possibilities of bartending when I saw flairing and the interactions between customers and the bartender. The bar is like the front face of the industry; having women behind the bar could change perceptions about women in other places. Soft skills of women can in fact be an asset to sales and in understanding customer preferences. Since people aren’t used to seeing women bartenders, there is also the positive “shock value” of seeing a woman ‘flair’… many times customers are pleasantly surprised.
How has it been different for you at any workplace than your male counterpart?
Sometimes customers are pleasantly surprised to see me handling the bar alone on a shift. I guess that being a rare sight in the profession also makes it easier for them to remember me. It’s also nice to see a warmer response and more engagement from lady customers, it’s nice to note their ease and comfort when I get to converse with them.
Has there been any women figure in your life who have influenced or inspired you to become the pioneer that you are today?
Women professionals running their own businesses or bars in the industry are always a great inspiration! Growing up I saw my mom and my grandma work very hard, often harder than other family members, I think that also taught me not to take anything lightly, to work hard for what I want and to handle all my responsibilities well. To be strong enough to take care of myself and others, regardless of what happens. To be seen as a strong person in my own right and not just by a stereotype.
How would you like to inspire the next generation to come and join this industry?
We should work behind the bar to see how we can look beyond India to the world. Our bar community is growing now and quite welcoming so I think newcomers should be inspired to join and make our ambitions more global. The world is so interconnected now and our customers are well travelled and have a global palate, so it should push our Indian industry to achieve global standards as well. I’d love to play my part in inspiring the next generation to join the industry with this vision.
What’s it like to be a woman behind the bar, making people drinks?
Sometimes I feel very blessed. In India, we don’t have many lady bartenders and once people notice me and appreciate me because its not a common sight, it’s encouraging. It’s a flurry of constant learning and that excites me the most! But it’s not just about ‘making drinks’; it’s also about food, hospitality, business, even music and ambience. A lot of customers are naturally drawn to converse with their bartenders, so it’s also important for us to be generally aware about our environment and the things happening in