What separates a Mixologist from a Bartender? Or a Cook from a Chef?

Not all bartenders possess the intricate knowledge required to be referred to as mixologists and there are two things that make a chef: professional preparation and a degree.

Coming from a culinary approach, a mixologist expands the definition of a cocktail, seeking out new possibilities concerning what they can potentially be. They can be “beverage scientists” trying out different types of alcohol combinations and working magic with ingredients the way the top chefs create signature dishes from their own recipes.

As a chef you will, in fact, prepare culinary innovations, but more than that, you’ll create dishes in a professional environment, craft menus, manage kitchen staffs, delegate tasks to sous chefs, and oversee inventory and profitability on a daily basis. Even greeting guests who want to compliment what they were served.


If you think about the word mixology as an umbrella for ‘the study of cocktails,’ then a mixologist is someone who is devoted to that study, whereas a bartender is an individual with a passion for making great drinks and creating well-balanced experiences. To be successful, you really need both types behind the bar.

We’ve seen the ascension of premium spirits over the past two decades and they have forced bartenders to elevate their game — to learn more about the products they were pouring and to develop cocktails that showcased their enhanced quality.

The term “mixologist” was first coined in 1856 and used as a show of puffery. Many believe one is the logical extension of the other. You can be a bartender without being a mixologist, but you can’t be a mixologist without being a bartender.

Rather than take clear direction and follow a structure to “cook” a particular product, the “Chef “ utilizing his or her degree demonstrates the ability to create something from his or her scientific culinary foundation. This is the base for them to draw from when it comes to executing an array of taste combinations, seasonings, textures, even the study of various ethinic cuisines.

Training is one of the biggest differences for Chef vs. Cook. Chefs can receive formal training from an institution, as well as by apprenticing with an experienced Chef.

The Chef and the Mixologist will hold the highest standard in providing the best of cocktails and culinary, but for the guest to have the richest possible experience, quality and presentation are at the top of the list when it comes to prompt and hospitable service.