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Indonesian Bartenders to Celebrate this International Women's Day

Throughout my years roaming through the bars of Indonesia, I've met countless talented bartenders. It never ceases to amaze me to see the passion behind the bar in all shapes and forms. However, today for International Women's Day, I'd like to bring a spotlight to the incredibly inspirational women I've had the pleasure of meeting over the past years in the industry. In an industry that is still very male-dominated, women break the glass ceiling and build a career and reputation with their skills and determination behind the bar. The number of female bartenders in Indonesia still pales compared to their male colleagues, but the current generation is paving the way for more gender representation for the future. Get to know some of these bartenders today; let us celebrate them as icons and inspirations for future generations to come.

Amelia at Social Garden (Jan 2020)

Amelia Mega

I've been a big fan of the current bar manager of the famous Skye Bar in Jakarta. Amelia Mega has been a force in the Indonesian bar industry after returning from work abroad. Working for the Ismaya Group, she is the mind and creative talent behind many cocktail bar menus around the city. Many of which have my favourite cocktails. However, it is her time abroad that she is most proud of, where she participated in the Marie Brizard cocktail competition in Dubai. One of only three women in the entire competition, the trio took all three podium places by the end day.

Favorite cocktail

"At this time. Rum Highball, relaxing my day from a hectic situation."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"Just believing you love your job, because this job is for women as much as it is for men. And in the end, we love what we are doing. Just respect and support each other. "

International Women's Day shoutout

"To all Indonesian Female Bartenders. Build your quality and character because I believe this is fundamental in bartending."

Follow Amelia Mega on Instagram

Angie at Double Chin Guest Shift (Aug 2019)

Angie S. Firda

Working as the brand ambassador for Borca Indonesia, I first met Angie when she did her guest shift behind the bar at Double Chin Restaurant & Bar at the Artotel Thamrin back in 2019. Expertly slinging cocktails at the bar, she did so elegantly in her traditional Indonesian outfit. Proud to be a female bartender in the Indonesian bar industry, Angie has built her reputation over 5 years behind the bar before switching roles as a country brand ambassador. Today she still steps behind the bar from time to time, doing guest shifts to promote her brand.

Favorite cocktail

"Actually, I love all types of refreshing cocktails. However, my preference is Bourbon neat & the Aperol spritz."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"Dear all young ladies who work at your amazing bars. Just do your best, because you never know what you'll get in the future. Build your character, and don't forget about your values. Please don't rush when learning cocktail knowledge. Master the basic cocktails because they are the key to the others."

International Women's Day shoutout

"For all women who celebrate International Women's Day. I want to say, "whoever you are, you deserve to get the best in life, career, and your love life."

Follow Angie S. Firda on Instagram

Astri for Giffard Spirit of Art Jakarta (Nov 2019)

Astri Hendarso

Late in 2019, Astri Hendarso was one of the 13 bartenders I photographed for the Giffard Spirit of Art project in Jakarta. Full of personality, she paired it with her keen ability to create delicious cocktails. Recently, she's been hard at work building and setting up a new bar in Jakarta named Botanical. She's definitely come a very long way in her career since her days competing at the PNI Bar Academy Nationals in 2017.

Favorite cocktail

"The Negroni, because to me it's nice to balance cocktail between sweet and bitter."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"You have gone this far, and you might be almost there. It is such a waste if you stop now. Never give up on your dreams."

International Women's Day shoutout

"To all the female bartenders in Indonesia: We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. Semangaaat..!!!"

Follow Astri Hendarso on Instagram

Ririn for Giffard Agave All the Way (Aug 2019)

Bernadette Ririn Haryono

I first came across the talented Ririn when I had an assignment in Bali to cover the Giffard Agave All The Way competition in 2019. Representing her bar the Ulu Cliffhouse, she was notably, the only woman in the finals of a competition, she stepped up to the bar watched by the crowd with a confident swagger. She came second in the competition against her fellow talented colleagues, but she has only grown in confidence since then.

Favorite cocktail

"Aperol spritz and lychee martini. It's because they are refreshing, and actually, I love sweet cocktails."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"Don't be afraid to start from the bottom. If there's someone that underestimates your capability in the bar because you are only a woman, show them that they are wrong, show them that you are better than what they think, like what I've before."

International Women's Day shoutout

"To the other women out there, especially my mom. Keep fighting when people look down on you. Don't give up!"

Follow Bernadette Ririn Haryono on Instagram

Demitria for Bacardi Legacy (Dec 2019)

Demitria Dana Paramita

The Head Bartender of the Skai Bar, in the Hotel Swissôtel The Stamford, actually made her name abroad instead of Indonesia. Working with big names in the local bar industry, Demitria hit her stride early in her career in Anti:Dote bar at the Fairmont Singapore. Refining her skills under talented mentors and even having the opportunity to support one of her bar heroes Luca Cinalli during his guest shift in SGCF 2019, she grew into her own when she won the Bacardi Legacy Singapore competition with her Ramona Legacy cocktail. Having the opportunity to travel the region promoting her award winning drink, she dropped by Indonesia for a couple of guest shifts, where I finally met her. And trust me, she's definitely one to watch for the future.

Favorite cocktail

"I always love Caipirinha. I love the fresh grassy aroma of Cachaca, balance sour and sweet from the fresh lime and sugar. It just makes me excited about a new day and new adventure. Lately, I really love Highball cocktail as well. Crisp whiskey highball really simply refreshing too. Paloma is a great one too!"

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"We are all aware of the tough work activities behind the bar; I really need to highlight that we always have to remember to take care of ourselves. Making sure that we always take vitamins, supplements and have enough rest. We are strong and independent women, but we need to take good care of ourselves. Balancing work and lifestyle is really important to keep your passion and health (physically and mentally) going."

International Women's Day shoutout

"Bannie Kang, a mentor and a sister to me. I just wanna thank her for everything that she has taught me. She always reminds us to be humble, telling us to rest but not to give up. She basically just like a sister to me. Many ups and downs we have been through together, laughter, tears, even misunderstanding sometimes. I just want to tell her to thank you for being my mentor, her care as a family, and a mentor to all bartenders in the world too. Without her, I won't be who I am today. Love you Jie Jie! Xoxo"

Follow Demitria Dana Paramita on Instagram

Dewi at 2020 Jakarta (Dec 2020)

Dewi Bimani

This young talent has recently made her way to the big city bar scene after joining the 2020 Agave & Cocktail bar in Jakarta last year. However, she did make a cameo during a guest shift at the famous Jakarta bar, the Cork & Screw Country Club, while still at El Nacional Bali. Still learning her trade, she has what it takes to reach the greats in the industry.

Favorite cocktail

"Margarita and mezcal sour because I like sweet and sour cocktails."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else" - Judy Garland.

International Women's Day shoutout

"To my mother. I just want to say that I love you so much, even though we sometimes have arguments and fights."

Follow Dewi Bimani on Instagram

Laura at Double Chin Guest Shift (Aug 2019)

Laura Prabowo

An Indonesian bartending icon, Laura Prabowo, has made her mark in the industry with her work in Hong Kong with the Old Man Hong Kong. However, it is her current bar project, Penicillin which shows amazing innovation. As a founder and the managing director, she is building this bar to become a pioneer of sustainable bars in Hong Kong, she and her team are trying to change her bar's impact on the environment. Paving the way for sustainability in the bar industry on this side of the world, they've shown that there are many fun and exciting ways to make the planet a better place for future generations.

Favorite cocktail

"One Penicillin, One Tree (apple skin whisky, turmeric sherbet, burned milk, homemade apple cider)

One tree called: Mallotus Muticus is planted in the endangered Kalimantan rainforest area in Borneo (my motherland) for each serve. This is one of our reforestation work partnerships with Ecospirit and Green Step Group. This tree reaches up to 42M and lives for more than 200 years. Over its lifespan, one of these trees will eliminate 4400kg of CO2 equivalent to 8000 single-use glass spirit bottles. Drink with a good cause; why not?"

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"Never, ever give up!! Don't feel ashamed if you are different. If u are weird, instead, use that as your strength!! When I just started my dream to be a bartender, so many people laughed at me and underestimated me. They always told me in my face that bartending is never a job for a woman. I just did it, and I forced myself to get up. I fought, I cried, I cursed, then I go about the business of living. There so many times I fell, but I got up again. That's how I've done it. That's how I proved them wrong. Life's a bitch; never ask it to be fair, just deal with it. Life is tough, but so are you!! "I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become." We don't have to be perfect, but we can be great."

International Women's Day shoutout

"To all womankind: When women support each other, incredible things happen. You can't eat beauty; it doesn't sustain you. Let's rise by lifting others. Be addicted to bettering yourself. And always remember real queens fix each other's crowns."

Follow Laura Prabowo on Instagram

Lucia for Giffard Spirit of Art Jakarta (Nov 2019)

Lucia Fernanda

Another young talent in the bartending scene, Lucia Fernanda currently works as a bartender at Caspar Jakarta at the Sudirman Suites. I last saw Lucy when we photographed her for the Giffard Spirit of Art project in Jakarta. A self-proclaimed social butterfly, she says that being a bartender in itself is a memorable experience. Channeling the human in the bar experience, she embodies that aspect of the bartender with her customers.

Favorite cocktail

"Just back to basics, the HIGHBALL, because I had it when I first tried alcohol, and since then, I keep drinking it."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"I don't think that I want to advise them since I know the women in this industry are already really good. When a woman decides to join this industry, you will know that she has a strong mentality. Yeah, you know how hard the nightlife is, hehe. So yeah, for the female bartenders out there, just keep on shining!"

International Women's Day shoutout

"For all the women around the world, know that we are strong women, you know when laboring is like getting your 20 bones fractured, and PMS is like surviving an apocalypse, so don't let anything or anyone bring you down!"

Follow Lucia Fernanda on Instagram

Marsya at Union Jakarta (Feb 2019)

Marsya A. Soemantri

At the award-winning Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar in Jakarta, the Head Bartender, Marsya A. Soemantri, is no novice in the bar industry. Leading an impressive bar team daily at one of the most crowded and busy bars in the capital city, she's a true embodiment of determination under pressure. The first female head bartender in Union Group history, she definitely will not be the last. A great example of a thriving female bartender in a competitive workplace, Marsya shows that anything is possible.

Favorite cocktail

"Salty Dog, I actually love the savory & bitterness."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"RESPECT COMES FIRST. Always have respect for your work partner/team and also the guest. I admit it myself that there were days when work feels tiring or like punishment, but if we stay positive, we will easily adapt fully to this profession without too much struggling."

International Women's Day shoutout

"I would love to shout out to my Mom, the person who encourages me to work at the bar & shared her experiences. And for all the female bartenders in Indonesia, I hope the bar industry continues to grow and move forward!"

Follow Marsya A. Soemantri on Instagram

Mega at Sofia (May 2019)

Mega Putri Wirawan

I first met Mega in the early days when she was still under Trisna Albon's tutelage at Sofia at The Gunawarman. Rife with promising talent, she continued her progress behind the bar. However, it was in the competitions where she challenged herself and her skills. Honing her abilities and learning from every experience, she now works as the resident bartender at the InterContinental Hotel Jakarta.

Favorite cocktail

"CapeCod. It is quite a simple drink with vodka and cranberry juice. Despite its simplicity, it is a great-tasting drink."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"My advice for other female bartenders is if bartending really is your passion, never feel satisfied with what you have accomplished. You'll need to keep upgrading yourself to become a better and more knowledgeable person to survive in this industry."

International Women's Day shoutout

"I want to give my loudest shoutout to my beloved mentor Trisna Albona. Not only has she been a wonderful teacher who's taught me everything about bartending, motivating me to always strive for more and never settle for second best, but also she's been an inspiration and the person I've always looked up to."

Follow Mega Putri Wirawan on Instagram

Angie at Ruang Tamu Bar (Jun 2019)

Raviella "Angie" Angela

I first met this young talent when I visited Ubud, Bali, in 2019. Working at the time behind Ruang Tamu Bar at the Blanco Renaissance Museum. Bright and full of character, she now is her own head bartender at Mamaka by Ovolo in Bali. Here she share's one of her most memorable experiences as a bartender "A couple had a 7-course meal with cocktail pairing. One of them hated whiskey. I had this random idea that I gave him a whiskey sour on purpose. I said, "it's my treat, but if you do like it you have to come back." They laughed and agreed. Surprisingly he really liked it, and the very next day, they came back with extra two friends."

Favorite cocktail

"Old Fashioned and Whiskey sour. They're simple and very enjoyable."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"When people say you're only this and that because you're a woman, don't bother. Maybe it's true; maybe it's not. But it doesn't matter. Do whatever it is as long as you're happy."

International Women's Day shoutout

"Bunda Sonya. She's been a bartender in Hard Rock Hotel Bali since 1998. She was my very first mentor in the bar industry. I want to say: thank you, Bunda, for being a big part of my bar life!"

Follow Raviella "Angie" Angela on Instagram

Bona at Sofia (Jan 2020)

Trisna Albona

Undoubtedly one of the most well-known names in the Indonesian bar industry, Trisnawati, or more commonly known as Trisna Albona or simply Bona, broke barriers early in her career as a female bartender in Indonesia. However, her work as the bar project manager for many new bar projects for the Syah Establishments is most meaningful. In her trade, a strong female leader, the Corporate Beverage Manager of Syah Establishments, is an inspiration to the many young and upcoming bartenders in the capital's bar industry.

Favorite cocktail

"Margarita on the rocks, love balanced when notes of the tequila meet slightly sweet and sour of lemon/lime. When you think tequila is bad, please shake it to become Margarita, then you'll love it."

Advice for other women in the bar industry

"We are women who are smart and talented, be independent, don't stop your passion, do what you love with your heart and logic. Keep digging in your passions!"

International Women's Day shoutout

"To my sisters, Mega Putri and Astri Berto, be smart and efficient, be productive, not active. Don't only learn within your box; find other things out of your comfort zone. I hope you'll become independent and proud female bartenders; get real and logical."

Follow Trisna Albona on Instagram

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