French terms are entrenched in hospitality adding elegance and refinement to describe process and outcomes.
Once upon a time professional Bartenders struggled with an adequate descriptor to purpose their skills and talent.
To fill this void various self-ascribed terms were created and have now entered the bar lexicon including Mixologist, Liquid Chef, Cocktologist to name a few.
In a new age where a shingle can be quickly invented via a web site, Linked In profile or business card... it’s perhaps timely whereby spirits knowledge, mixing, serving experience, operational know-how and management skill could be better defined with an all-encompassing term with professional presence, prestige and yes panache!
Australians are a funny lot… we invent irreverent and quirky names for everything... some examples… fruit seller: a fruitologist, a trash or garbage collector: a garbologist... whilst in no way diminishing these professions think there’s still more room that elevates elite bartenders beyond the word Mixologist!
It’s not unknown for some bar rookies to imagine that attendance at a 1 day bar course, several spirits education event(s) together with a little bit of “stick” under the belt to be sufficient to self-describe as a Mixologist nee bartender... of course the more practical amongst us know it takes a lot more than spirits to maketh the bartender.
Back in Prohibition times and the generation before, bartending was considered not only a noble profession but a position with community respect; in a nut shell the word bartender meant something.
It takes years to acquire the necessary mastery to evolve past a generic descriptor such as bartender and in the process attain meritorious professional standing; with requisite recognition and compensation.
It’s time for a newer term to clearly position the professors of spirits from the doctors, interns and students of the mahogany!
We propose a new term:
Spirits Chevalier, elevating the Mixologist to a higher standing equivalent or surpassing that associated with the term, Sommelier.
A Spirit Chevalier can only be earned not daubed like a fake Knighthood or regal title purchased from a defunct duchy, princedom or cash strapped state.
Great terms with honours must be accorded; requiring new levels of International standards so that those who have acquired and fulfilled all aspects can only then be elevated to become a Spirits Chevalier.