The Curious Eleven with Martin Hudak

The Curious Eleven with Martin Hudak

"World Coffee in Good Spirit Champion," "International Bartender of the year," Co-Creator of Maybe Sammy -the "Best New International Cocktail Bar of 2019," Global Coffee Ambassador of Mr Black Spirits, and founder of Spiritual Coffee…Meet Martin Hudak.

Needless to say this Aussie has quite the impressive résumé. His bar, Maybe Sammy, is inspired by 1950s Hollywood glamor, created in Sydney, Australia as a “swing” on a classic hotel cocktail bar, minus the hotel.

Some of its most recent accolades? A TOTC – Best New International Cocktail Bar of 2019. It was also ranked Best Australasian bar and no 43rd within 50 World’s Best Bars 2019. This guy knows a thing or two about mixology, so we caught up with the Mr Black Ambassador to pick his brain on the art of bartending.

Martin Hudak, Mr Black

When did that eureka moment happen when you realized your mission is to be a bartender?

When I saw my first guest leaving with a smile.

What are the TOP 5 skills every bartender should have?

Communication – body language – empathy – humility – honesty.

Which cocktail is the biggest pain in the ass to make, pardon our French?

Anything with fresh fruits or herbs which will require double straining.

And which cocktail is served in your version of heaven?

Espresso Martini.

Which drink or cocktail would you say is way underrated? (And a tricky followup: Which one is the most overrated?)

White Russian for sure. Overrated would be Negroni (although I love it too).

You come home, slide into something comfortable, and throw yourself on the couch. What's in your glass?

If I am thirsty then Beer probably. Some nice local IPA. If I just want to sip on something then Cold Fashioned – equal parts of Mr Black & Whiskey.

Cold Fashioned

What are the five essential ingredients every booze lover should have in their home bar?

Bitters/Amari – Coffee liquor - Vermouth – Whiskey – Gin.

Which booze is the most versatile?

Vodka – as its plain and taste like nothing (sorry Vodka lovers).

Is there a favorite life hack you learned at your job?

No more dry shake for drinks with egg whites. Use hand blender and save your arms for the next decade of bartending.

Martin Hudak

What's the craziest anecdote you're willing to share with us?

Once I sold Sazerac made with vintage pre phylloxera Cognac from 1858 to a Hollywood star. Price for that drink was higher than my 3 months’ salary.

I believe the best tool is us and our own skills of using body language as a part of cocktail making.

What are your passions outside the world of Spirits?

Coffee, coffee and coffee.

Martin Hudak, Coffee Cocktail

What would you be doing if you weren't a bartender?

Probably I would be in showbusiness. Anything what would involve acting or performance where I can be surrounded by people.

Tell us what's your favorite tool of the trade and why.

Sometimes we are too obsessed with nice and polished bartenders’ tools, but I believe the best tool is us and our own skills of using body language as a part of cocktail making.

Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself?

Still in Australia and still happy.

A Genie tells you to pick someone to fix a drink for; dead or alive, real or fictional. Who would it be?

Sasha Petraske.

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