Mixologist, Bartender and a Hop Shot

Categories: Booze, Brew Blog

Photos by John Kiely
The Bitter End

Sure, I got as vexed as anybody when I first heard the term mixologist a few years back. Why attach an academic title to a service that doesn't need one? To be a bartender -- at least a good one -- requires quick wits, charm, speed, people skills, drunk-people skills and the ability to measure on the fly, in the manner that French cooks forgo measuring cups.

It was not until reading Wayne Curtis's And a Bottle of Rum that I learned mixologist first appeared in print in 1856, at a time when hard-drinking Americans were fueled by raggedy rum, coarse whiskey, brandy and a series of flips, cobblers and shrubs.

Mixology is literally "the study of mixes," and it took a lot of study to come up with today's collection of cocktails. So, unless you exclusively drink sherry flips, hats off (even fedoras) to the decades of learned bartenders.

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