Mixology Just Another Fancy Word or An Accurate Description

Mixology: Just Another Fancy Word or An Accurate Description?

There’s no exact science when it comes to the drink preferences of customers. Nor is there one cocktail to please everyone. This is where mixology comes in to save the day. Mixology involves the act of creating and recreating drinks of different kinds to suit the needs of every individual. The desire to create perfect cocktails repeatedly is what fuels the mixologist. So what exactly does this term entail? Where does it come from and why does it matter?

What is Mixology?

Mixology is defined as the practice of making good cocktails. It is often used interchangeably with the more well-known term bartending. But we’ll get into that a little later on. A mixologist is then simply a person who performs the mixology. Mixology is a creative craft, using edible ingredients in the form of liquids and solids. Usually, the drinks consist of alcohol-infused mixes, but you can also create non-alcoholic versions (called virgin cocktails). The term mixologist is similar to the word “barista,” in that it describes a person creating a kind of drink. Baristas make coffee inspired creations while mixologists make use of alcohol, herbs, fresh fruits and freshly pressed juices etc. This word is not a new term either, with its use dating as far back as the 19th century.

 History of the Term

The term mixologist was first introduced to the bar culture in 1800’s as a descriptor for high end or luxury bartenders. During this time, only the finest liquors used alongside fresh ingredients were acceptable in these spaces. Since this time, the word seemed to disappear from everyday vocabulary. However, the modern cocktail age has brought it back with gusto. But does the term hold the same meaning?

In today’s jargon, the term mixologist gets mixed reviews. Some believe it is simply a pretentious word used by some bartenders to set themselves apart from others. Some consider it an acceptable term that displays the craft and skill that is cocktail making. This topic has become part of a wider bar culture debate.

 The Debate – Is it Bartender or Mixologist?

The only way to dive into the debate of this term is to break it down even further. Here are the full descriptions of each term for clarification:


A bartender is required to fulfil these duties and have the following skills:

  • A fundamental knowledge of different cocktails
  • Has the element of hospitality and people skills
  • Expert skills in the making of different cocktails
  • Has experience and training
  • Is fluent in the bar lingo
  • Knows how to please different kinds of customers
  • Is skilled with preparing drinks under pressure
  • Can prepare drinks for multiple customers at once


A mixologist generally has the following traits and skills:

  • Requires extensive knowledge of different cocktails
  • Knowledge of taste and flavour combinations
  • Attempts new flavour creations and concoctions
  • Understands of the importance of exact quantities
  • Pays close attention to presentation of the drink
  • Continues to educate themselves in the field

The End Result

What it all comes down to, and what actually matters at the end of the day is the craft. We believe what makes a bartender great is in his skill and not his title. We like to use these terms interchangeably as a means to prove the exceptional artisanship of our Thirsty Barmen. No matter what they call themselves, they can all be so proud of their accomplishments.

To become a proud mixologist or barman takes training and dedication. You can take a number of different courses that will teach you everything from bar etiquette to alcohol service laws. Think you have what it takes to become one yourself? Contact Thirst Bar Academy to quench that thirst for knowledge!

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