Mixologist Job Description
Mixologists mix various types of alcohol and other ingredients to create traditional cocktails and design brand-new cocktails and mixed drinks. Mixologists are employed by clubs, bars, taverns, breweries, and distilleries, and ultimately report to an operations manager or bar manager. Mixologists work flexible hours during all shifts, including evenings, nights, and weekends. Some businesses require mixologists to travel to food and beverage shows and other marketing events to perform presentations and talk to people about alcohol and beverages.
Mixologist Duties and Responsibilities
Mixologists have specific job duties and often focus on certain types of alcohol and cocktails depending on where they work, but the core duties of mixologists are the same across all companies, breweries, and distilleries. These duties include:
Mixologists make syrups, infusions, tinctures, mixed drinks, and cocktails of all types to fulfill customer orders. Mixologists take orders from customers, serve drinks, and collect money for the orders they fill.
Entertain and Educate Guests
Mixologists entertain guests while mixing drinks, talking to customers about spirits and offering trivia and history about various alcohols to keep customers engaged and enjoying themselves.
Design New Beverage Menu Items
Mixologists are responsible for crafting original beverage menu items and designing new, innovative cocktails using the ingredients that are already supplied by the company for which they work.
Clean and Organize Bar
Mixologists must keep the bar area clean and organized, maintaining all sanitation standards of the business and local food and beverage laws.
Maintain Alcohol Inventory
Mixologists are responsible for keeping the bar well stocked and fully supplied with alcohol, and for filling out inventory forms in order to replace items as needed.
Follow Alcohol Laws
At all times, mixologists must adhere to state laws regarding alcohol consumption by checking customer identification and cutting off customers who have had too much to drink.
Make Drink Suggestions
Mixologists suggest cocktails and mixed drinks to customers who are unsure about what they want to order.
Mixologists prepare all drink garnishes and keep the garnish station continuously stocked during their shifts.
Mixologist Skills and Qualifications
Mixologists must have good people skills to keep customers entertained in addition to extensive knowledge of alcohol and cocktails of all types. Employers look for mixologists who have the following necessary skills to perform all their job functions well:
- Customer service – mixologists are entertainers as well as drink servers, which requires excellent customer service and good people skills
- Salesmanship – because mixologists make suggestions to guests and attempt to upsell drink orders by offering more expensive brands of alcohol or costlier cocktails, employers look for professionals with sales experience to fulfill this role
- Communication skills – mixologists engage people at various marketing events as well as customers at the bar, so people who pursue this path need good verbal communication skills to succeed
- Computer skills – because mixologists use point of sale systems and other computer programs, employers seek professionals with basic computer skills
- Physical stamina – mixologists spend most of their working hours on their feet and performing for guests by flipping glasses and making drinks with flourishing, entertaining movements, so only those with the physical ability to perform these tasks will find success in this career
Tools of the Trade
Mixologists work with these various cocktail-related tools on a daily basis:
- Bartending tools (shakers, muddlers, strainers, pourers)
- Cutlery (knives, slicers, peelers)
- Bottle tools (corkscrews, bottle openers)
Mixologist Education and Training
Employers require mixologists to have a GED or high school diploma. Many employers also look for candidates who have previous bartending or mixology experience. Professionals who have a bartending license, which can be obtained after attending a multiweek paid training course, can make themselves stand out as strong candidates to potential employers.
Mixologists receive on-the-job training to become familiar with the top brands and cocktail recipes used by the establishment that hires them, particularly those brands that are brewed or distilled in-house. Training typically lasts one to two weeks.
Mixologist Salary and Outlook
Statistical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that bartenders earn a median salary of $20,800 annually, or $10 hourly. According to PayScale, mixologists earn a median hourly wage of $14.93. By 2026, new bartending jobs are expected to increase by 2 percent, slower than the national job growth average.
Mixologists rarely receive benefits like health insurance from employers. However, mixologists do routinely receive cash tips from customers. After a year of steady employment with the same company, mixologists may receive paid vacation days.
Find career opportunities and job tips for mixologists with these books and websites:
The Curious Bartender: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail – learn tips and tricks for crafting cocktails with this in-depth guidebook that explores the various ingredients and alcohols used to make mixed drinks
National Bartender Association – find professional career opportunities for mixologists and bartenders at this website, which also provides community resources and helpful links
The Bartender’s Bible: 1001 Mixed Drinks – this handbook contains more than 1,000 drink recipes that include wine, beer, specialty, and non-alcoholic mixed beverages
World Flair Association – find mixology competitions around the world and get tips for entertaining bar customers with the WFA website
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail – this award-winning book delves into cocktail creation as both an art form and a science
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