Mixologists serve drinks, but waiters serve customers Mixologists can be hired by spirit companies to create special concoctions with their spirits, but waiters are only employees of bars. As you can see, the mixologist versus the waiter question has more to do with the nuances than with the real differences between them. Both functions create and serve drinks, but waiters tend to interact more with customers, while mixologists focus on creating beverages. They have fundamentally similar backgrounds, but mixologists often have more experience creating original beverages and additional culinary training.
Mixologists who serve beverages often do so in areas specifically known for their creative or higher-quality beverages. The word mixologist was created to elevate the profession, but in my opinion, it has never needed to be elevated. Reputation is particularly important in this role, and some mixologists will work at specific events instead of having a salary or a permanent place of work. Mixologists tend to work with more ingredients than waiters and may work in more exclusive or high-end locations with customers looking for exotic or personalized beverages.
Let's be honest and we'll say that there are people who argue that the title of “mixologist” is used to give a waiter a level of superiority, perhaps to make it sound a little luxurious compared to the image of a waiter selling pints at his place. The reputation for creating original, high-quality beverages is also part of this function, as people who hire mixologists tend to value past success in the position. While mixologists serve drinks from time to time, some of them interact much less with customers than waiters. MyBartender focuses on the world of cocktail making and on tips for becoming a better waiter.
Essentially, mixologists are waiters who go from serving drinks to focusing more on the creative side of the industry. Some ads may title a position such as “waiter”, but the job description clearly states that they are looking for someone who is an experienced mixologist. You're more likely to find a mixologist than a waiter somewhere like a Michelin star restaurant. Mixologists are also more likely to work in a cocktail bar that focuses specifically on mixed drinks than in a general bar that offers basic options such as beer.
I think mixology was more of a term to describe something that had never been done before, when people were first starting to mix cocktails.