Mixology 101: A beginner's guide to modern cocktails

August 23, 2023

The art of the perfect mix 

Mexican-style mixology.

Mixology: the art and science of creating cocktails. Its origin dates back centuries and is attributed to nothing more and nothing less than monks. It is believed that they were the forerunners of this art by making herbal spirits for medicinal purposes; and since then, it has evolved into a respected and celebrated profession.

Nowadays, it is not enough to just find a place where basic cocktails are good, now we are looking for an experience that goes far beyond a good mojito or a fresh margarita.

To delve a little deeper into the language of mixology, I will first tell you about the differences between mixology, mixology, bartender and mixologist:

• The cocktail bar is in charge of the perfect execution and presentation of the cocktails, following already established recipes.

Mixology is the in-depth study of cocktails, we could define it as the art and science of mixing drinks.

• The bartender has knowledge on how to prepare and distinguish the variety of cocktails and many of them are experts in giving advice when your heart breaks.

• The mixologist’s labor is closer to the investigation of the ideal mixture of liquors, he seeks to perfect and create new cocktails, making the bar his laboratory.


Ready! Now that you know the basics, I will tell you a little more about the types of cocktails that exist and how mixology in Mexico has gained strength, managing to position itself on The World's 50 Best Bars list.

Classic Cocktails.

The one that never goes out of style and as much as there are more innovative cocktails, we do not stop drinking. Its ingredients are simple and in this category we can find the mojito, made of rum, lemon, mint and a touch of… sugar! (If you read the last ingredient in the tone of Celia Cruz, you already know where this cocktail originates from).

We continue with the classic Margarita to cool off in the summer, with its combination of tequila, triple sec and lemon juice; legend has it that it was created for the first time in Ensenada.


Modern Cocktails.

Modern cocktails are born from the innovation of the composition of traditional cocktail recipes. Here we find more creative mixes in terms of preparation and presentation: the Bombay Bellini is a mango-flavored cocktail with refreshing bubbles from Italian champagne; originally from New York, the Gin Mule appears, a refreshing combination of botanical flavors such as ginger, lemon and mint, accompanied by gin and beer.


Evolutionary Mixology.

This kind does not seek new mixtures and flavors, rather it tries to perfect the flavor with techniques applied to the world of cocktails, such as foams, air, clarification, infusions, smoked, mists, etc.


Molecular Cocktails.

Born from the implementation of cooking techniques in cocktails, resulting in edible cocktails made with gelling agents, thickeners or liquid nitrogen, creating new textures, shapes and colors.

This type of cocktail bar is the one that you will take hundreds of photos of before taking your first sip. You can find everything from a spherical mojito or a cocktail with liquid nitrogen in the shape of a bubble, which when punctured leaves a trail of white smoke.


Flair Cocktail Bar.

Also known as acrobatic cocktails, surely by reading this you already know which one I mean, the one that surprises us from the moment it is prepared with the visual spectacle it gives us.


Signature Cocktails.

Each mixologist has his personal touch and signature cocktails is its maximum expression, seeking to generate an experience in all senses, not only through the taste of the liquid, but also through everything that surrounds the drink, from the choice of the glassware to decorative and edible items. Signature cocktails can only be enjoyed in their place of origin, well let's say it's like a kind of granny's secret recipe.


Tiki Cocktails.

Characterized by its exotic and colorful glasses, its rum-based drinks with a Polynesian touch were born in California in 1934, when alcoholic beverages were banned in the United States, and precisely because of their presentation they could go unnoticed by the authorities.


Non-Alcoholic Cocktails.

Better known as Mocktails, in recent years they have become popular because they are recipes originally conceived with the idea of not containing alcohol and, in general, they are mixtures of different juices and concentrates, and they also have the characteristic of being visually attractive.


I hope this guide will be useful to you on your next appointment at a bar or restaurant, since cocktails are not only limited to being in a bar, because, on the other hand, one of the greatest revolutions that the world of cocktails has experienced in recent decades is that this is no longer exclusive to bar counters, mixology has managed to position itself as an ideal complement in culinary preparations, a field that until recently was occupied only by wine.

Do you remember that I told you that Mexico has positioned itself in the list of the 50 best bars in the world?

The popular annual cuisine ranking, The World's 50 Best Bars, announced the winners of the year 2022, which includes four bars in Mexico City.

In the 32nd position we find Baltra Bar, located in la Condesa, run by José Luis León, whose cocktail bar revolves around evolution. Almanaque Silvestre, the last menu, focuses on flowers "and the evolution of beauty over time."

At number 13th comes Hanky Panky, a clandestine-style bar, hidden behind a street trade, founded by Walter Meyenberg Passport, and its current menu is a tribute to the relationships forged on the team's travels, with drinks and ingredients inspired by different cities and gatherings.


Handshake Speakeasy, located in the Juárez neighborhood, ranked number 11. Directed by Eric Van Beek, it is characterized by its cocktail proposal with aged liquors, a proposal that is also reflected in the interior decoration that resembles a speakeasy from the twenties. The most recent menu is a tribute to the Mexican bar community and its resistance, which is why there are drinks made with mole, mushrooms and butter.

The following bar has been on this list since 2014 and this time it was ranked number four, under the direction of Benjamín Padrón and José Luis León. Limantour Liquor Store is located in Colonia Roma Norte, where national distillates, artisan cocktails and contemporary mixology are praised.

In addition, this year he also won the Rémy Martin Legend of the List Award 2022, for having the best performance in the history of the list since its creation in 2009.

I hope that after all this theory, you are feeling inspired to put all this knowledge into practice and immerse yourself in this fascinating world of flavors, spirits and techniques.

Here's to the joy of experimentation, celebration, and the never-ending search for the perfect cocktail. Cheers!

Creadora de contenido, nacida en la bella CDMX, amante del sonido de las olas y experta catadora de postres


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