Mixology might seem like a newfangled term, but it’s actually pretty old, like mid-19th century old, and was only revived as a way to describe the recent renaissance of bartenders caring (a lot) about their craft.
So why does it matter? This surge in creativity and care didn’t just impact bar menus. It created a demand for better product, first behind the bar and then from consumers themselves. As bartenders—or “mixologists”—continued exploring new, or simply better, flavor profiles, new (or simply better) spirits and products were created to meet that demand, which is why “mixology” is actually pretty important if you care about spirits and cocktails. (Cocktail historian Dave Wondrich’s cocktail history book Imbibe! actually inspired Bols to revive their genever—a richer, maltier gin precursor).