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Mixology 101: Bartending vs Mixology

Published on 30 Sep 2021

Mixology 101: Bartending vs Mixology

Often, people use the term 'bartender' and 'mixology' interchangeably. Although, their role overlap in certain aspects but each holds it own crown in the world of cocktails. Today, we will deep dive into the difference between bartending and mixology as an art

Open the doors of a bar and you spot one set of drink slingers in casual wear mixing up your favorite cocktails for $5 or so while showing off their moves if the vibe calls for it. Now the other set of the cocktail profession dressed sleekly frequently find themselves behind the scene racking up their brains to introduce a $12 cocktail catering to your utmost delight. The latter set refers to themselves as 'mixologists'.

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What is Mixology?

If one has to pin down the exact definition of mixology it would be the 'riveting culinary art of whipping up new cocktail recipes by fusing an admiration of classic cocktails and reverence to the cocktail culture'.

Who are mixologists? 

In the realm of cocktail, a mixologist refers to someone who holds rapt for the cocktail culture by dwelling into the history of mixed drinks, gets intrigued by the ingredients and techniques deployed, and has innovative tricks up his sleeve by frequently inventing mixed drinks.

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Mixologists vs Bartenders - Spotting the Difference 

Although, the work of a paragon bartender and a masterly mixologist coincident along the lines but the two perform vastly discernible functions. You would spot a bartender serving classic cocktails & house specialties and tending to the customer as the likes of a restaurant server. For mixologists even though they frequent bars, their primary motive entails crafting cocktails to bring them to the cocktail scene and putting their signature styles on all-time favorite drinks.

Parallel between a Mixologist and Bartender 

Let us break the role capacity of Mixologists and Bartenders for a clearer distinction- 

A Mixologist is someone who - 

  1. Curates quirky and authentic cocktail recipes - Mixologists give life to the art of mixology by constantly experimenting with the ordinary to craft the unordinary cocktails. They usually possess the standard bar tools and infuse inventive tools to give their signature cocktails a unique element.
  2. Peruses of the history of cocktails - Mixologists although involved in developing new cocktails hold a deep appreciation for the unfolding history of the cocktail world. They often draw inspiration from the old-school cocktails to give their drinks a new flavor.
  3. Keeps up with the cocktail industry - The action for a mixologist takes behind the curtains but the inspiration comes from the commotion outside. A master mixologist keeps the tricks of the trade under his belt while brainstorming for the new ones. Watching out for the work of other mixologists and bartenders in action could work wonders for stimulating a brand new cocktail.
  4. Can work as consultants/head bartender - Some mixologists choose to assume the title role of a head bartender or bar manager to supervise the bartending staff as it leaves them with sufficient time for their trial and error with cocktails. However, many opt for working as a consultant for other restaurants and bars to help them draw up their cocktail menus. Even bar owning mixologists frequent other bars/restaurants for consultation and vice versa.

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A Bartender is someone who - 

Bartenders pick up their skills while attending bartending schools where they are kept abreast of their roles and responsibilities 

  1. Fashions regular cocktails & house specialties - A standard bartender possess the mastery of serving regular cocktails as well as in-house specialties. They must be able to serve the classic cocktails in no time. Their area of work does not include crafting rousing cocktails rather they serve the ones cooked up by mixologists.
  2. Works with the crowd & displays effective customer service - The essential quality of a bartender is keeping a lid over their calmness while handling large swathes of the crowd efficiently. They are also expected to be friendly and maintain a conversational tone as they form a bond with their customers.
  3. Handles the register & bar stock - The logistical aspects of a bartending job pave the way for diligent maintenance of the register to avoid accounting errors. Also, making sure the stock supply pays off for undisrupted service.

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How to become a Mixologist? 

  • According to the website 'Zippia', 47.9% of mixologists have a bachelor's degree. Whereas in terms of higher education levels, 2.9% of mixologists have master's degrees.
  • Earning a bartending license might be a wise choice as it satisfies the preference of most companies. You can search for these online cocktails courses or attend a short-term paid course offered by companies.
  • If your resume contains prior experience in this field, you might be the star choice for many!
  • Some noteworthy skills a mixologist must radiate are - Accuracy, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Adaptability, Amiable, Interpersonal skills & more.

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