Natasha Bahrami is the owner of The Gin Room in St. Louis, Missouri, a bar with hundreds of world gins on its shelves which also hosts gin seminars and workshops to engage and educate drinkers. She’s also the founder of The Gin World, a platform designed for the ‘exchange and expansion of knowledge’ on the world of gin, which hosts gin festivals featuring educational programmes with distillers and brand ambassadors. Natasha was also inducted into the Gin Magazine Hall of Fame this year, for her work elevating gin, teaching its fans more about the spirit and introducing more people to the category.
Gin Magazine (GM): Was there anything in particular that drew you to the gin industry?
Natasha Bahrami (NB): Since I was a crawling toddler growing up in my parents’ restaurant, I’d say perhaps the restaurant industry led me to drink. Perhaps a more correct answer is that it led me to a dirty martini. Gin became my drink of choice, and soon I started realising there was a range and spectrum of gins as I got into the craft distilling world. The deep dive began soon after and I was hooked.
GM: Does the gin world feel any different now than when you started out?
NB: Absolutely. There were very few gins in the market when I started – Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray. The craft movement has exploded, giving gin not only a much wider flavour spectrum but also so many choices. Whether you like classic juniper-forward or a gin distilled with tomatoes or seaweed, there is a gin for you.
GM: What’s the thing you’re most proud of in your work?
NB: We started with a focus on education – we had, to because we had to create a demand for gin. And as we have grown, from the Gin Room to Gin World in multi-states, we still maintain the same focus on education. There is no strategy too big or too small if it gives us a chance to convert or create another gin enthusiast.
GM: What do you most enjoy in your work?
NB: I love the moment when an interaction, perhaps over one experience or years of experience, comes full circle. When a person goes out of their way to express the impact you have had on their lives. That moment alone means the most to me.
GM: What does International Women’s Day mean to you as someone working in the gin industry?
NB: BIG question. Any woman that works in this industry, or any industry, knows they have big obstacles to overcome. International Women’s Day makes my heart thrive thinking of how close knit the “gin genies” as we call ourselves, work together to uplift each other rather than compete. The women in this industry are some of my closest friends, their wins are our wins, each of us doing our part to elevate the category of gin, all over the world. To me, IWD reminds me of our strengths.