So what is the difference between a bartender in a cocktail bar and a mixologist??
Well, some may say that anyone can pour a drink, but truth be told, there’s a lot more to it than opening a bottle and putting liquid in a glass. On the legal side alone, your bartender is responsible for your general safety when you are drinking in a bar and that is certainly a tough role. Then there’s holding a virtual roladex (yes showing my age here) in your head of classic cocktails, basic mixed drinks, wine and beer flavors and complexities and what goes with what. Then there’s the soft skills of bartending – you have to have a certain degree of personality – and lord knows, you can’t teach that! And inventory management and the strength to lift and carry everything around!
So let’s just say, bartenders are a pretty big deal aren’t they!
But what is a mixologist? Well, a lot of mixologists come with a background in bartending. They have learned the classic drinks and the history that goes with them. They have also made a habit of keeping up with industry trends and have an extensive knowledge of the booze market. But there’s more – in order to be a creative mixologist you have to have instinct to put flavors and textures together. To combine the perfect amounts of sweet and savory, with highs and lows of booze and acid and ‘mouth-feel’. There’s infusions and syrup making and and bitters and tinctures, and knowing how much water or even salt needs to go into the drink to make it sing. There can be a lot of trial and error, but with a combination of respect for the craft cocktail history, inspiration and a well honed palate – occasionally you can create a masterpiece!