Meet Tabitha Rice, Pinay bartender and mixologist in male-dominated industry

by Nikko Tuazon
Jun 25, 2022
Tabitha Rice
Tabitha Rice counts among the rising number of women who have broken into a male-dominated club of bartenders and mixologists. In an interview with PEP.ph, she shares her "Basil Instinct" recipe that throws, get this, wasabi paste in the mix.
PHOTO/S: @1834gin on Instagram

Thirsting for some good cocktails? Barista Tabitha Rice suggests her "Basil Instinct" recipe.

Tabitha, the Ginebra San Miguel premium gin ambassador, introduced her latest concoction during Ginebra San Miguel's World Gin Day celebration last June 10, 2022, Friday, at the Makati Diamond Residences.

Her "Basic Instinct" cocktail mixes 1834 Premium Distilled Gin with basil-sugar syrup, fresh lime juice, wasabi paste, and egg white.

The wasabi paste is definitely something unusual in a cocktail drink, but Tabitha said it was definitely a must-try.

She told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview, "Actually, I know a lot of people who don't like wasabi and they're really hesitant to try it.

"But you don't really taste the wasabi. You just have the notes of it and I converted them to become wasabi lovers."

BREAKING GENDER STEREOTYPES

Tabitha, 25, counts among the rising number of women who have broken into what is perceived to be a male-dominated club of bartenders and mixologists.

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She presently works as a consultant for bars around the metro and a bartender at Kampai, a Japanese-themed bar in Poblacion, Makati.

Secure in her place, Tabitha said, "I actually really love it being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

"I feel like it's for us to show that making the drinks is only a small, small percentage of being a bartender and mixologist.

"Majority of it is like conversing with people, having that connection. And I feel like that as women, we can do that very, very well."

"And like, we bring [that] to the table... A lot of us here in the Philippines especially are now being interested to joining the industry.

"I see women around Poblacion where I work and becoming like, 'Oh, I'm trying to learn about making cocktails because I want to be a bartender.'

"So that's really like heartwarming for me. So yeah, it's exciting especially for this industry."

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GIVING IT A TOAST

Tabitha related to PEP.ph how, as a customer. she became curious about the trade from watching bartenders do the mixing.

She said, "A while back, I was always the one on the other side of the bar getting drunk.

"But then it came to a point when I watch bartenders make the drink. And I'd be like, 'Oh that looks like a lot of fun.'

"And I feel like, I would like to say I'm a creative person and when I taste different things, I'd like to imagine what it was like taken in a different concept, in a different way.

"So I feel like it sparked the creativity in me. I was really... I wouldn't say I was passionate from the get-go but I would say I was very curious.

"And from that curiosity, I kind of just fell into this career, that I'm so lucky to be passionate about what I do."

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A word of advice from Tabitha to women who want to pursue bartending and mixology as a career, "Don't be scared and don't be intimidated."

She expounded, "To be honest, it is kind of intimidating when you start something, and knowing that there are so many cocktails out there, you don't have to memorize everything.

"But you just have to take that first step and be just like, you know, 'I'm interested in this...'

"Not just mixology, any passion anybody has, just take the first step and you'll kind of find your way along with it."

Tabitha will also be participating in the Gin Bar Crawl challenges, which will happen in 30 GSMI partner establishments until Saturday, June 25, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 12 m.n.

Participants will be given a Gin Passport with five sticker slots. This who will finish the challenge will receive a WGD Finisher Pack, consisting of three GSMI products, and a finisher T-shirt.

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Tabitha Rice counts among the rising number of women who have broken into a male-dominated club of bartenders and mixologists. In an interview with PEP.ph, she shares her "Basil Instinct" recipe that throws, get this, wasabi paste in the mix.
PHOTO/S: @1834gin on Instagram
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