Reetika Rai - The gal behind the bar
The girl from Darjeeling trained at the venerable Oberoi Grand in Kolkata. “It’s my manager there who said I had what it takes to work behind the bar and steered me in this direction,” she says. “All the crucial basics of bartending I learnt there.”
A girl in a man’s world
“Did I have doubts about entering what seemed like guys’ territory? Just a bit, maybe,” says Reetika. “But soon I was loving it, learning everything from how to slice lemons to pouring tips from my male colleagues.”
What gives her a kick
“I love to be bartending for big parties when you’re shaking up one custom-made cocktail after another for a huge group of people. That buzz gives me such a high on the job!”
Ask her about the most challenging part of her job and she says, “Getting it just right for the guest.” Reetika says people either love or dislike a cocktail, there’s nothing in-between. “So, getting the balance right – from colour to flavour, alcohol content and garnish is the key. Of course, when you crack it, that’s a great feeling.”
“When I’m not working I love hanging out with my friends,” she says. “And I’m more likely to drink a beer than anything else. But if I were to drink a cocktail it would be a classic Margarita, made by someone else,” she laughs.
The stuff of envy
Do people think she has a job to die for? “Yes, indeed, lots of girls say ‘Wow, what fun!’ My colleagues like the chefs at the hotel probably think that, too, but they are all very supportive.”
Her World Class Cocktail
Reetika’s presentation was a Tanqueray Sour, inspired by the classic G & T. It was Tanqueray with pineapple juice, lemon juice and lemon grass, reflecting the Oriental flavours that Reetika works with at the Studio.
Read more such interesting personal stories of bartenders only on our World Class page.
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