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March 15, 2023 4 min read


Mixologists are not just bartenders. They are professionals who have honed their craft and have a deep understanding of the history, ingredients, and techniques of cocktail making. If you're interested in the field, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of what it takes to become a professional and successful mixologist.


Who Is a Mixologist?


mixologist pouring drink in a shot glass

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A mixologist is a professional who specializes in creating unique and delicious mixed drinks and cocktails. They possess in-depth knowledge of the history, ingredients, and techniques of cocktail making and are skilled in creating visually appealing and well-balanced drinks. They are often referred to as the "scientists and artists" of the bartending world, as they carefully measure and mix ingredients to achieve the perfect taste.


What’s the Difference Between a Mixologist and a Bartender?


bartender serving a drink to a customer

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A bartender is a professional who serves drinks to customers in a bar or restaurant setting. They typically have a basic knowledge of mixing drinks, serving wine and beer, and can make simple cocktails. They are also responsible for maintaining a well-stocked bar, providing excellent customer service, and ensuring that the bar operates efficiently.

A mixologist, on the other hand, is a specialist who crafts inventive and appetizing cocktails. They are in charge of coming up with fresh and interesting cocktail menus, and they frequently collaborate with other members of the service staff to guarantee a satisfying customer experience.


What Is the Average Salary of a Mixologist?


Bartender putting slice of lemon in cocktail

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The average salary for a mixologist can vary depending on several factors such as experience, location, and the type of establishment they work in. According to Glassdoor, the average mixologist makes roughly $37,000 a year. However, mixologists who work in high-end bars and restaurants or major metropolitan areas can earn significantly more. Some mixologists may also earn additional income through tips, which can significantly increase their overall earnings.


How to Become a Mixologist


If you want to become a master mixologist, there are a few things you should know:


1) Learn the Basics of Bartending


four wine glasses

Credit: Envato Elements/ serhiibobyk


Before you can start experimenting with different flavors and techniques, you need to have a solid understanding of the basics of bartending. This includes understanding the different types of glasses and garnishes, as well as basic cocktail recipes and techniques. These skills can be acquired through bartending classes or on-the-job training while working as a bartender.


2) Study the Classics


To become a true mixologist, you need to know the classics. This means studying the history and recipes of classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Martini. You should also be familiar with the different types of alcohol and how they are used to craft cocktails.


3) Experiment With Different Ingredients


mixologist pouring a mixture in a glass

Credit: Envato Elements/ antoninavlasova


Once you have a solid understanding of the basics and classics, it's time to start experimenting. Try using different types of alcohol, syrups, bitters, and fruits to create delicious and innovative drinks. Don't be afraid to make mistakes – this is how you learn and improve.


4) Learn About Mixology Tools and Equipment


In addition to knowing the basics of bartending, you should also familiarize yourself with the equipment and tools used in mixology. This includes things like jiggers, shakers, muddlers, and strainers. Knowing how to properly use and maintain these tools is essential for creating high-quality cocktails.


5) Develop Your Own Signature Cocktails


woman happy to try a cocktail drink

Credit: Envato Elements/ Juan_Algar


As you gain more experience and confidence in your mixing skills, start developing your own signature cocktails. These should be unique, delicious, and reflective of your personal style and tastes.


6) Network and Gain Experience


Mixology is a competitive field, so it's important to network and gain experience. Attend mixology competitions and events, and try to get a job working at a high-end bar or restaurant. This will allow you to work with master mixologists and learn from them.


7) Get Certified


man standing with arms crossed in a bar

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Getting certified as a mixologist can be an important step toward a successful career. Although formal education is not a requirement, certification demonstrates knowledge and skills in the industry and can make you more attractive to potential employers. Additionally, it can open up new opportunities for career advancement, such as promotions or management roles.

To gain certification, you can consider enrolling in professional organizations like the USBG or BAR, taking mixology courses or bartending courses, or attending bartending school.


8) Keep Updated on Industry Trends and Innovations


The world of mixology is constantly evolving, with new techniques, ingredients, and equipment being developed all the time. Stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and innovations by reading mixology publications, attending industry events, and following influential mixologists on social media.


9) Understand the Business Side of Mixology


bartender smiling at a customer

Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios


Being a good mixologist is not just about mixing drinks, it's also about understanding the business side of the industry. Learn about inventory management, cost control, and providing excellent customer service. This will help you to run a successful bar or restaurant and be a valuable asset to any establishment you work for.


10) Practice Your Mixology Skills


As with any skill, the key to becoming a great mixologist is practice. Experiment with different techniques, and continue to refine your skills over time. The more you practice, the better you'll become, and the more confident you'll be in your abilities.




Becoming a mixologist is a challenging and rewarding journey, but with a combination of learning the basics, experimenting, practicing, and constantly updating yourself with new trends and techniques, you can master the art and stand out in the industry.

To help you on your mixology journey, we recommend trying out the Pepe Nero - Complete Bartending Tool Set. This all-in-one set includes everything from shakers to bar spoons. Shop with us today to start creating delicious cocktails like a pro in no time!

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