The difference between a mixologist and a bartender

When it comes to hiring a professional to make drinks at an event, people often use the terms mixologist and bartender interchangeably. However, there are significant differences between the two. In this blog, we will explore the distinction between a mixologist and a bartender at an event, their roles, and their skill sets.

Definition of mixologist and bartender

Before delving into the differences, it's essential to define what we mean by a mixologist and a bartender.

A mixologist is a skilled professional who creates cocktails and other mixed drinks. They are trained in the art of mixing, blending, and infusing drinks with various flavors, textures, and aromas.

On the other hand, a bartender is a person who serves drinks in a bar or restaurant. They can make simple cocktails and serve beers and wines, but their primary focus is on serving drinks quickly and efficiently.

Mixologist skill set

Mixologists are highly trained professionals who possess an extensive knowledge of spirits, liqueurs, bitters, and other ingredients used to create cocktails. They have a thorough understanding of the chemistry behind mixology, including the proper use of ice, the balance of flavors, and the art of garnishing.

Additionally, mixologists are creative and artistic individuals who can develop new drinks and customize existing ones to suit the preferences of their clients. They often create signature cocktails that reflect the personality and style of the event they are serving.

Bartender skill set

Bartenders, on the other hand, are skilled in the art of hospitality. They must possess excellent customer service skills, including communication, listening, and problem-solving. Bartenders can multitask and serve several customers simultaneously, keeping track of multiple drink orders while maintaining a friendly and welcoming demeanor.

Furthermore, bartenders must be knowledgeable about the products they serve, including beer, wine, and spirits. They should be able to provide recommendations to customers and answer questions about ingredients, flavors, and origins.

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Mixologist role

A mixologist's primary role at an event is to create unique and delicious cocktails that reflect the theme and style of the occasion. They may work with the event planner or host to develop a drink menu that complements the food, decor, and overall ambiance of the event.

Moreover, mixologists provide a show-stopping experience for guests by creating visually appealing cocktails, utilizing special effects like smoking, lighting, or flames. They also educate guests about the drinks they serve, sharing their knowledge of the ingredients and their origin.

Bartender role

A bartender's role at an event is to provide efficient and timely service to guests. They must maintain a well-stocked bar, manage inventory, and ensure that drinks are served in a timely and orderly fashion.

Furthermore, bartenders must create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, engaging with guests and providing a personalized experience. They must be able to adapt to the preferences of each customer, accommodating dietary restrictions, and suggesting alternatives if necessary.

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The difference between a bartender and mixologist

While both bartenders and mixologists work behind the bar, their roles are different. Bartenders are focused on providing a wide range of drinks quickly and efficiently, while mixologists are focused on creating unique and innovative cocktails.

Bartenders typically have a more generalized knowledge of drinks, while mixologists have a specialized knowledge of cocktails and mixology techniques. Mixologists also tend to work in higher-end establishments, where the focus is on craft cocktails and a high level of customer service.

Why it's important to know the difference

Knowing the difference between a bartender and a mixologist is important, as it can help you choose the right establishment for your needs. If you're looking for a wide range of drinks, a bartender-focused establishment may be the right choice. However, if you're looking for innovative and unique cocktails, a mixologist-focused establishment may be a better fit.

Understanding the distinction between bartenders and mixologists can also help you when ordering drinks. If you're looking for a custom cocktail, it's best to go to a mixologist-focused establishment, where they can create a cocktail based on your preferences. If you're looking for a classic drink, a bartender-focused establishment is likely to have the recipe on hand.

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How to choose the right one for your cocktail bar

When choosing between a mixologist and a bartender for your cocktail bar, there are several factors to consider. The first is the type of event you are hosting. If you are hosting a high-end event or one that requires unique and innovative cocktails, a mixologist may be the better choice. However, if you are hosting a more casual event or one that requires a variety of different drinks, a bartender may be more appropriate.

You should also consider the size of your event and the number of guests you will be serving. If you are hosting a large event with a lot of guests, you may need multiple bartenders to ensure that everyone is served in a timely manner. On the other hand, if you are hosting a smaller event, a single mixologist or bartender may be sufficient.

Finally, you should consider your budget. Mixologists tend to command a higher rate than bartenders, so if you are working with a limited budget, a bartender may be the more cost-effective choice.


In conclusion, while bartenders and mixologists both work behind the bar, their roles are different. Bartenders focus on providing a wide range of drinks quickly and efficiently, while mixologists specialize in creating unique and innovative cocktails. Understanding the distinction between the two can help you choose the right establishment for your needs and order drinks more effectively.

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Are mixologists more expensive than bartenders?

It depends on the establishment. Mixologist-focused establishments may be more expensive than bartender-focused establishments, as they typically offer higher-end ingredients and more specialized drinks.

Can a bartender also be a mixologist?

Yes, a bartender can also be a mixologist. However, not all bartenders specialize in mixology.

Can a bartender create custom cocktails?

While bartenders may be able to create custom cocktails, their specialized knowledge and training in mixology techniques may not be as extensive as that of a mixologist.

Do I need a mixologist or a bartender for my event?

It depends on the type of event you are hosting and your budget. If you want to impress your guests with unique and innovative cocktails, a mixologist may be the better choice. If you are hosting a more casual event or need to serve a variety of drinks, a bartender may be more appropriate.

How do I choose the right mixologist or bartender for my event?

Consider the type of event, the number of guests you will be serving, and your budget when choosing between a mixologist and a bartender. It is also important to review their experience and skills and ask for references.

What is the main difference between a mixologist and a bartender?

A mixologist specializes in creating cocktails and has extensive knowledge of spirits, mixers, and presentation. A bartender, on the other hand, is primarily responsible for serving drinks and ensuring a pleasant and safe drinking experience for guests.

Testimonials of our mixologists for hire

What clients say

Don't just believe us for what we say about our artists, but read about all the fabulous experiences previous clients had when booking one of the talented mixologists for their event from our entertainment agency.


We used Spin and Shake for my wifes 40th birthday party at our house. The team at Spin and Shake were excellent - very professional, courteous and the cocktails were fantastic. The communication before, and on the day, was great and i would thoroughly recommend.


40th Birthday Party, UK


BOOZYBAR ARE THE BEST!!! The staff are amazing.. The cocktails are amazing!! Ben was really friendly before the party, keeping in contact via email and phone. Nothing I asked was too much of an inconvenience for him. Absolutely would recommend to anyone having a wedding or party or even if you fancy some cocktails!!


Wedding, UK


We had the amazing mixologist at our small gathering last night and he was worth every penny. He arrived early, was polite and engaging, and made cocktails to die for!! Not to mention the amazing flair element - things whizzing around all over the place, a real show in my own kitchen!! We would absolutely book again, thanks so much for a brilliant service!


Private Event, UK


I organised a surprise cocktail party for my mums 50th and it was so much fun! Fantastic communication from start to finish and our mixologist was great in the class. Everyone had so much fun and most importantly the cocktails tasted incredible! Would definitely reccomend


50th Birthday Party, UK


Had a great time making cocktails last night. We had a cocktail masterclass at the Gin Palace, led by Ben. The cocktails were great and learnt a lot from the experience. Would definitely recommend


Masterclass, UK