The Art of Mixology – How Competitive is It, Really?

Mixology, the science and art behind concocting gorgeous and delicious cocktails, has become more on an art form that an act of bartending. It no longer matters if you head to a hole-in-the-wall or a high-end bar you are bound to find mixologists crafting the most beautiful or slightly outrageous cocktails around. That’s because it’s not just a show they’re putting on for the customer but also for each other.

The Modern Day Mixology Trend

Bartenders are hard at work, pouring, blending, shaking and garnishing innovative cocktails to please the senses. The truth is, he or she makes it look easy because they have already perfected it to an art form. Don’t think of them as your bartender, but rather, a bar chef.

The Difference is in the Approach

A bar chef, or mixologist studies the craft of mixed drinks, refines their techniques to perfect their craft to create innovative cocktails by blending exciting ingredients for the bar or drink menu.

A bartender might make 12 rum and colas in 45 seconds flat, while a mixologist will take that cola and raise it to a whole new level. For example, mixologist Josh Pearson of Sepia restaurant in Chicago mixes cocoa nibs in a bottle of rye whiskey for 24 hours. After straining the cocoa infused whiskey he pours it over ice with half an orange peel and a few brandied cherries, a dash of simple syrup and angostura bitters. The end result is a gorgeous drink to look and a delicious and unique taste.

The Competition is Fierce

The pool of talented mixed drink connoisseurs and innovators aren’t just gifted, they are competitive! Just watch an episode of the reality TV series, On the Rocks, in which master level mixologists from all over the country battle it out for the win of the best drinks and the most drama! Mastering the art of competitive mixology isn’t just about talent, or knowledge. It is also about agility, creativity, accuracy and innovation.

Mixology competitions aren’t just a reality for game show contestants. All over the country from upscale bars to food and wine festivals you’ll find the best of the best shaking, stirring and creating drinks. And creating drinks you’ve never heard of before! Bartending has evolved due to the competitive aspect of mixology. Just one taste from a true mixologist and your taste buds will scream. After all, you haven’t been served just a drink, but an experience—that’s the mixology way and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.