Mixology is a term used to describe the art of mixing cocktail drink recipes. The definition of Mixology is the study or skill of preparing mixed drinks. A mixologist is a person who combines and invents cocktail drinks. All mixologists are bartenders, but not all bartenders are mixologists.
Untrained bartenders may know how to mix drinks, but most don’t understand why things should or should not be done differently. A professionally trained mix mixologist knows how to consistently make a drink that tastes good and is profitable for the establishment. The mixologist enjoys knowing and understanding the art and craft of mixing cocktails, studying the classics, concocting new and exotic drinks, and experimenting with new distilled spirits and mixers. It’s similar to a professionally trained chef and a short-order cook.
In the past, bartenders took pride in making cocktail drinks that tasted and looked good. Sours, martinis, collins, margaritas, champagne cocktails, and pina coldas all used special glasses designed to enhance the drink’s appearance. Fresh fruit juices were used as mixers instead of powdered or commercial mixes that weakly imitate the color and taste of freshly squeezed juices. Today most drinks are served in 2 or 3 all purposes glasses that do little to enhance a mixed drink.
Have you ever ordered a mixed drink cocktail and found that the taste was too strong or weak? If you have, it’s probably because the bartender didn’t understand portion management. Adding too much or too little of a distilled spirit or mix can drastically alter the taste and characteristics of a drink.
The next time you order a drink, watch the bartender prepare it. These are some simple things to be aware of.
Do they carefully measure each ingredient?
If the drink is served in a stemmed cocktail glass, do they pre-chill the glass before pouring the drink into it?
If the drink requires shaking, does it shake enough to chill without watering it down properly?
Is the drink garnished, such as with a pineapple cocktail garnish
Do they ask you how your drink is after you have tasted it?
While some may argue with our definition of Mixology, the proof is in the drink’s taste.