As renewed interest in cocktails continue to grow, bartenders are also taking the spotlight, and in El Nido and Siargao, two bartenders are paving the way for women to shine in a male-dominated industry.
Sharleen Antonio works with her husband and fellow bartending professional, Larry Guevara, in one of Palawan’s top beach destinations. Riza Delguime, meanwhile, is a bartender for a leading resort in the country’s surfing haven.
Creating Tanduay-Infused Cocktails
Both women have been bartending for years and share a preference for Tanduay in creating cocktails.
“It’s very easy to mix in cocktails because of its unique and bold character. I usually go for the classic Tanduay Dark Rum in my root beer and rum with a squeeze of fresh lemon,” Antonio said.
She shared that they used Tanduay rums in her bar management class back in college, so she is very familiar with the brand. Collaborating with the brand, she came up with three Tanduay-infused cocktails that are perfect for any time of the year — the Mango Basil Mojito, Tanduay Espresso Martini, and Tanduay Old Fashioned.
Delguime likes Tanduay’s sweet and strong flavor. Foreign customers would usually ask what rum brand she uses in her cocktails and would then request drinks infused with Tanduay rums.
“I have my own signature cocktail, which is perfect when I mix it with Tanduay. We have female guests here in the resort who would request for cocktails that are not too strong, and I would make one for them also using Tanduay,” she said.
Delguime further shared that the bartending scene in Siargao has always been “good and clean.”
“There are different varieties of bars here like sports bars and pool bars, and they are all super busy because of the many tourists who visit our island,” she said.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Antonio shared working in a male-dominated industry wasn’t easy in the beginning. Women bartenders used to be seen as just “cotton candies” behind the bar to attract male clients and rake in tips.
“While I may have experienced some catcalling and received some indecent proposals from male guests in some instances, I have to say that I have been lucky to have always worked with my husband behind the bar. In 2016, we joined Pilipinas Got Talent Season 5 to show that there is more to bartending than meets the eye,” she shared.
Advice for Aspiring Bartenders
Delguime advised aspiring bartenders to just be themselves.
“That would be the key to your success. Bartending is fun, and you get to entertain guests,” she said.
Antonio, meanwhile, has made it her advocacy to educate people about bartending as hospitality and F&B professionals.
“Gone are the days when women were simply considered as bar backs or force multipliers during busy bar shifts. Or worse, simply as ornaments behind the bar,” she noted.
Antonio wants to motivate, inspire, and empower women bartenders and those who would like to start a career in the bartending industry. She and her husband have been conducting workshops and seminars around the country to help aspiring bartenders better their craft.
“It is my wish that female bartenders will continue to flourish and leave their own mark in the field we all so love and are passionate about,” she said.