A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 26, 2009
Mixologist

"Mixologist” or “bartender”? Some people say that the terms describe the same person; others say that “mixologist” is merely a fancy name to add an additional few dollars to the bar tab.

A “mixologist” mixes drinks, often creating new ones. A “bartender” tends to the bar, delivering the drinks and interacting more with the customers than a “mixologist.” “Mixologist” was cited in print in a New York magazine in 1856 and a Louisiana newspaper in 1857. The term “mixologist” became the subject of several web articles in the 2000s.

“Mixicologist” was the title of an 1895 drinks guide, but that citation is rare.


Wikipedia: Bartender
A bartender (barman, barkeeper, barmaid, mixologist, tapster among other names) serves beverages behind a bar in a bar, pub, tavern, or similar establishment. This usually includes alcoholic beverages of some kind, such as beer (both draft and bottled), wine, and/or cocktails, as well as soft drinks or other non-alcoholic beverages. He/She “tends the bar”. A bartender may own the bar they tend or be simply an employee. Barkeeper carries a stronger connotation of being the purveyor i.e. ownership. In addition to their core beverage-serving responsibility, bartenders also:

. take payment from customers (and sometimes the waiters or waitresses);
. maintain the liquor, garnishes, glassware, and other supplies or inventory for the bar (though some establishments have barbacks who help with these duties);

In establishments where cocktails are served, bartenders are expected to be able to properly mix hundreds to thousands of different drinks.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
mixologist, n.
slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.).
[< MIX n.2 or MIX v. + -OLOGIST comb. form. Compare later MIXOLOGY n.]
A person who is skilled in mixing drinks; a bartender. Cf. MIXER n. 1b.
1856 Knickerbocker 47 615 Who ever heard of a man’s..calling the barkeeper a mixologist of tipicular fixins?
1870 W. F. RAE Westward by Rail xv. 201 The most delicate fancy drinks are compounded by skilful mixologists in a style that captivates the public.
1922 S. LEWIS Babbitt xiii. 169 Miriam here is the best little mixologist in the Stati Unidos, like us Italians say.
1975 H. DEMPSEY Bob Edwards v. 103 The tender-hearted mixologist thereupon threw another tumbler of brandy into him.
1989 Business Rev. Weekly (Austral.) 26 May 161/1 The ability to make a good martini..separates the ordinary beer pullers from the true mixologists.

Google Books
June 1856, The Knickerbocker, or New York Monthly Magazine, pg. 615:
“Why, who the h--l ever heard of a man’s coming to bed in the dark, and calling a bar-keeper a mixologist of tipicular fixins, unless he had gray eyes, razor-handled nose, short ha’r, an’ a coon-colored vest?”

21 June 1857, Sunday Delta (LA), pg. 5:
As all such introductions are succeeded by an ontroduction to the “bar mixologist,” it follows, as a matter of course, that, unless the introduced possesses an exceedingly strong head, he, in an inconceivably short time, becomes “high,” with a decided inclination to the low—or “tight,” with very “loose” actions—or “three sheets in the wind,” and staggering under a heavy press of canvas, with not a capfull of wind stirring.

17 May 1876, New Orleans (LA) Times Picayuine, pg. 4:
The venders of mint juleps and brandy smashes are now known as “mixologists.”

OCLC WorldCat record
The Mixicologist : or, How to mix all kinds of fancy drinks, containing clear and reliable directions for mixing all the different beverages used in the United States, embracing juleps, cobblers, cocktails, punches, durkees, “trilbys”, etc. etc. in endless variety, with some recipes on cooking, and other general information. An up-to-date recipe book
by Chris F Lawlor
Type:  Book; English
Publisher: [Cincinnati, Ohio : Lawlor & Co.]; for sale by the R. Clarke Co., Hawley’s and Union News Co., [©1895]

OCLC WorldCat record
Life and letters of Henry William Thomas, mixologist.
by Charles V Wheeler; Henry William Thomas
Type:  Book; English
Publisher: [Washington, D.C.] : Priv. print., 1926.
Editions: 2 Editions
Related Subjects: Bartending. 

Google Books
Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail
By Jared Brown, Robert Hess
Published by Jared M. Brown
2005

Google Books
Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail
By Jared McDaniel Brown, Anistatia Miller, Robert Hess, Dale (CON) Degroff
Published by Jared M. Brown
2006

Slashfood
A mixologist is not just a bartender
Posted Sep 18th 2006 2:03PM by Nicole Weston
If you thought that a mixologist was just a fancy term for a bartender, you’d only be partially correct. Most mixologists start off as bartenders, but the terms are not entirely interchangeable according to mixologist Leo DeGroff. The latter is more like a chef, creating new drinks, not just pouring them.

About.com: Cocktails
Colleen’s Cocktails Blog
By Colleen Graham,
Mixologist or Bartender?
Wednesday August 27, 2008
(...)
Over the last few years the term “mixologist” has been used more often than ever before in the history of bartending, but is a mixologist just a fancy, scientific-sounding name for a bartender? Technically, yes, but there is a generally accepted difference between the two job titles and the two are often used interchangeably. Still confused?

Mixologists practice mixology and bartenders tend bar.

Bon Appetit Foodist Blog
What’s the difference between a bartender and mixologist?
10:20 AM / February 10, 2009 / Posted by Andrew Knowlton
(...)
A friend of mine claims that the only difference between the two is that for the same drink, the bartender charges $8 and the mixologist charges $13. He’s kidding--sort of. The resurgence of the classic cocktail has led to a whole new generation of bartenders, many of whom have started making their own infusions, bitters, sodas, and more. And titles like bar chef and mixologist are now common.

However, while it’s easier to find a well-made cocktail, the art of tending bar is being lost. In the words of esteemed bartender Jim Meehan of the New York bar PDT: “A mixologist serves drinks, a bartender serves people--many of my favorite bartenders can’t make a good drink, while some of the best mixologists in America can’t carry on a conversation.”

The Atlantic Food Channel
The Story of the American Mixologist
Mar 25 2009, 8:40 am by Derek Brown
(...)
Other difficult terms include “bar chef” and “mixicologist.” The bar chef Albert Trummer is purported to have been the first to use the term “bar chef,” and it makes sense—especially if he was looking to identify with the kitchen. In an interview with Gothamist Albert explains, “A bar chef is a little different. A bar chef is someone who works closely with the kitchen—not someone who puts three raspberries in a cocktail.”

OK, “mixicologist” is seldom used but does come from the title of a 1895 bar book by C.H. Lawlor, who referred to his position behind the stick as “chief bartender” despite the book’s title. That’s damn close to chef.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Thursday, March 26, 2009 • Permalink