After a long day or a night out at the club, the bar is your home to good times. A place to relax, unwind, or loosen up to have fun. Don’t forget one crucial factor to every bar, your best friend, the bartender. Afterall, the bar is merely the ship as the bartender is the captain. Seemingly anyone can become a bartender these days by making simple drinks, cocktails, and serving it up with a smile. However, it goes deeper than that as the pros prefer to go by a different term.
This group of dedicated professionals are often referred to as “mixologists,” a term given to practitioners of “mixology,” which is really just another way of referring to the practice of making good cocktails. Mixology might seem like a newfangled term, but it’s actually pretty old, like mid-19th century old, and was only revived as a way to describe the recent renaissance of bartenders who are passionate about their craft. Slowly but surely, this group of dedicated bartenders brought serious attention, and the term “mixology,” back to their craft.
So why does it matter? This surge in creativity and care didn’t just impact bar menus. It created a demand for better product, first behind the bar and then from consumers themselves. As bartenders—or “mixologists”—continued exploring new, or simply better, flavor profiles, new (or simply better) spirits and products were created to meet that demand, which is why “mixology” is actually pretty important if you care about spirits and cocktails. To make it even more serious, some establishments actually require employee candidates to have a degree, license, or certificate in Mixology
So the real impact of “mixology” wasn’t just to influence the way we drink in bars, or how much we pay for cocktails, but to create a standard that hadn’t existed for a very long time in spirits and cocktail drinking culture. Even if you don’t want something complex, at the end of the day, the resurgence of “mixology” might just mean your neighborhood bar has a slightly better selection of gins for your Gin and Tonic. And while the intimidation factor may sometimes remain, and some menus (and menu prices) may not suit your tastes, many mixologists by now have put away any old timey or ultra-serious affectations (and even the term “mixologist”) in favor of a redoubled emphasis on hospitality in whatever environment suits them.
Of course, whatever you call the guy or gal behind the bar a bartender or mixologist, just remember to tip well.