What Is a Mixologist?

Whether you’re throwing a casual poolside get-together or hosting an upscale cocktail party on the patio, nobody is more welcome than the person behind the bar. If you love whipping up piña coladas and dirty martinis for your guests, you might have what it takes to be a mixologist. 

But what is a mixologist and how is it different from bartending? While the two roles have an overlap, a mixologist goes beyond the practice of mixing drinks to study the art and craft behind it.1 

So if you’re constantly putting your unique twist on classic drinks, you may have just found your new calling. Keep reading to learn more about mixology and how you can start mixing up some magic today.  

Mixology 101

From your bumping backyard brunch to the hot fusion restaurant downtown, venues of all sizes require the services of mixologists. You might find a mixologist breaking out the goods on a number of occasions, such as:2  

  • Opening night for the new speakeasy on the block. The mixologist behind the bar is typically the one who builds their signature cocktails from the ground up.  
  • Your best friend’s wedding reception, where the mixologist has been tasked with whipping up some easy beach cocktails to match the beach-themed wedding.
  • The front page of a notable magazine, which features an article by a mixologist on the evolution of rum-based drinks. 

In other words, mixologists can sometimes be found behind the bar, putting their theory into practice. Other times, their work is research-based, with a heavy emphasis on mastering the tastes, trends, and traditions of the cocktail world. 

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Put Your Mixology Skills to the Test

This fancy term may elicit imagery of chemistry labs, intricate pouring techniques, and silvery shaker sets. But at its core, mixology is not only a skill, but a study. This means that, with experimentation and practice, there are plenty of ways for you to learn the craft. 

If you’re ready to become the cocktail whisperer, grab your liquor or spirit of choice, your bar kit, and get started with these tips to be on your way to crafting great drinks:  

  • Read up before you drink up – Top-notch mixologists dig deep into the history of cocktails, reviewing periodicals and archives on various drinks.2 While you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails to get started, it sure helps to sprinkle in some history. After all, you must know the traditions of the trade in order to break them. 
  • Find your resources – You don’t need to attend bartending school to become a master mixologist. When it comes to mixology, curiosity and self-study can get you a long way. From videos to books to articles, there is a wealth of online resources to cover the fundamentals. Find recipes that are known to work, such as one of SLIQ’s recipe guides, and add your own flair as you become more comfortable. 
  • Practice, practice, practice – Whether it’s getting professional bartending experience, taking a mixology class, or manning and stocking your at-home bar, the most important part of the equation is to practice making mixed drinks. There’s no better excuse to throw a party or a tasting event. As you learn the craft, you can also teach others as a way to hone your own skills. 

Tips for Mastering the Mixer

A crucial part of mixology is the mixer, which is the non-alcoholic liquid added to the liquor itself.3 Mixers come in an endless variety, with some common ones being:4 

  • Juices
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Fruit purees
  • Simple syrups

As a mixologist, making your own mixer is where you can really shine. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist in search of a few new tricks or a beginner who’s eager to get started off on the right foot, keep these factors in mind to level up your cocktail recipe game: 

  • Find premium ingredients – Concocting a premium cocktail means using premium ingredients. Since a mixed drink usually consists of no more than a handful of ingredients, a low-quality mixer can easily be picked out, disrupting the balance of flavors or aromas.5  
  • Doctor it up – Avoid the hassle of making everything from scratch by starting with a high-quality base ingredient. A SLIQ frozen cocktail pop, featuring a variety of liquors and flavors, is a terrific place to start. From here, you can easily add your own twist, throwing in a homemade herb- or fruit-infused syrup for a craft cocktail that’s uniquely yours.6
  • When in doubt, use tonic water – Remember that making the perfect cocktail doesn’t always require reinventing the wheel. In fact, you can keep it simple with the classic mixer, tonic water.7 Add a SLIQ Spirited Vodka Cranberry and Grapefruit Pop for the perfect flavor combination of bitter and sweet. 

SLIQ: Mixology Made Simple

Whether you’re preparing for the long-awaited family reunion or kicking back for a warm campfire drink on a chilly night, we know you want good times only. That begins with having the right ingredients. 

SLIQ’s  frozen cocktail pops are made with premium vodka, rum, and agave spirit. Plus, they’re infused with tastefully crafted flavors, providing endless possibilities for the perfect alcoholic drink. It’s no wonder why people love our vodka ice pops, rum ice pops, margarita ice pops, and newly released whiskey ice pops.

Get creative and get mixing with SLIQ today


  1. The Spruce Eats. What Is Mixology in the Contemporary Cocktail Scene? https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-mixology-759941 
  2. Master Class. What’s the Difference Between a Mixologist and a Bartender? https://www.masterclass.com/articles/whats-the-difference-between-a-mixologist-and-a-bartender#what-is-mixology 
  3. Dummies. Basics of Drink Mixers for Your Barhttps://www.dummies.com/article/business-careers-money/careers/hospitality-careers/basics-of-drink-mixers-for-your-bar-152370 
  4. Food Network. How to Pair Mixers with Alcohol. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/how-to-pair-mixers-with-alcohol 
  5. FSR. These Premium Mixers Will Be Your Bar’s Secret Weapon. https://www.fsrmagazine.com/beverage/these-premium-mixers-will-be-your-bars-secret-weapon 
  6. Cheers Magazine. 14 Tips and Tricks from Masters of Mixology. https://cheersonline.com/2015/06/11/14-tips-and-tricks-from-masters-of-mixology/ 
  7. Independent. 10 Best Drink Mixers. https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/food-drink/spirits/best-drink-mixers-tonic-waters-with-vodka-gin-coke-reviews-brands-a7777526.html