Nowadays it seems like the profession of preparing and serving drinks is divided into two distinct but quite intertwining camps. India’s drinking culture has changed radically. Through one door, you’ll generally find old school bartenders in casual dress pitching drinks for Happy Hour, and through another door, you’ll see carefully methodical women and mustachioed men preparing concoctions for your reverent sipping pleasure. The latter group is often referred to as Mixologists, a term given to practitioners of Mixology, which is just another way of referring to the practice of making good cocktails. Mixology might seem like a modern term, but in reality, it is pretty old, (the term was coined in the mid-19th century) and was only revived as a way to describe the recent renaissance of bartenders caring (a lot) about their craft.
Difference between Mixology and Bartending
When we talk about the beverage industry specific to alcohol, often the terms bartending and mixology are interchangeably used. However, there is a difference between the two. A Mixologist typically designs the cocktails and drinks from scratch based on the bar’s style and also prepares the in-house syrups, tinctures, and other ingredients that go in the drink. The role of a mixologist also entails selecting the ingredients and ensuring their quality. A mixologist may or may not serve the drinks to the customers.
A bartender, on the hand, is not involved in the design and innovation of the drinks but rather on merely preparing and serving the drinks to the customers. A bartender is more focused on the customers, handles the bar rush, and makes the drinks based on the existing recipes.
The Mixology Trend and the Indian Restaurant and Bar Scene
India is known for spices and exotic flavors, but India’s beverage industry and bartending practices have not always been recognized. But in the last five years, Indian bar trends have improved a lot. The Indian cocktail scene has evolved from regular Cosmopolitan and Mojitos to even greater crafts. People here in India, now travel a lot, have greater knowledge about the various varieties of drinks and are more informed, hence the market for drinks here is increasing as the beverage industry is evolving. With the ever-increasing demand by the customers, the innovations have found their kick too.
Not that this age was a sudden period of the cocktail invention; it was more like a situation, with much-abused classic cocktails being prepared and restored to their rightful dignity and then building on the backbone of the traditional recipes with new drink types.
This surge in creativity and care didn’t just impact bar menus. It created a demand for a better product, first behind the bar and then from consumers themselves. As Mixologists continued exploring new, or just better, flavor profiles, new spirits, and products were created to meet that demand, and this has made Mixology pretty vital if you care about spirits and cocktails.
So the real impact of Mixology wasn’t just to influence the way we drink in bars, or how much we pay for cocktails, but to create a standard that did not exist for a very long time in the Spirits and Cocktail drinking culture. Even if you don’t want something complex, at the end of the day, the resurgence of Mixology might mean that your neighborhood bar has a slightly better selection of gins for your Gin and Tonic. And while the intimidation factor may sometimes remain, and some menus may not suit your tastes, many Mixologists by now have put away any old-timey or ultra-serious affectations in favor of a redoubled emphasis on hospitality in whatever environment suits them.
However, the Indian bar trends still need to uncover a lot of possibilities that are available. Mixologists nowadays are going a long way in creating innovative drinks and cocktails to keep the customers hooked with a wide range of new menu items everytime they visit the pubs. Notwithstanding all these, the science needs to be exploited, keeping in mind that almost 60% of the Indian population is under the age of 35 years and hence we will have a massive crowd in a few years, which in turn will help to garner a huge profit.