Monday 27 June 2022

Hudak, the bridge between coffee and cocktails: “It is all about perfect timing”

The king of mixology: "I would like to open one more bar outside of Australia so lets see how we will go with this. Also I would like my book to be sold in every country. Big dreams but I only dream big."

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MILAN – Martin Hudak is the King of coffee mixology, he’s appointed Global Coffee Ambassador of Mr. Black and before that he was former senior bartender at The Savoy in London. Is it all? No: because Hudak has been also the World champion of coffee in good spirit 2017. As he said himself: “For many years I’m trying to bridge the gap between the coffee and spirits communities.”

Hudak, coffee in good spirits champion, bartender, writer, trainer, ambassador: which of these roles do you feel best represents you as an icebreaker?

“I think all of them together. Some people call me an entrepreneur or bridge between the world of coffee and cocktails. Titles really doesn’t matter, whatever I do I wanna do it with love and passion. And I could be one day making coffees and than making drinks and than travel around the world and educate people.”

When did you realise you wanted to work behind the bar and why did you choose the mixing of coffee-based alcoholic recipes for your professional career?

“More than a decade ago in my home town in Slovakia. I was working in local coffee shop which was also bar at the night and I wanted to learn and to do everything so naturally I became barista and bartender too. Back than there weren’t many people like me so I decided to focus on combining coffee into cocktails and be different.”

They are usually two opposing ways of experiencing the bar: coffee at breakfast in the morning, cocktails in the evening. How do they fit together?

“It is all about perfect timing. Each country has different traditions or customs but there is this part of the day which you as Italian knows called aperitivo which in my opinion is an ideal moment for combining morning with evening through low abv cocktails and coffee cocktails.”

Hudak, can you tell us about your Espresso Martini? In Italy, there are people who would like it to be made with coffee extracted to perfection, perhaps specialty coffee, and without watering it down with ice…

“Its called an Espresso Martini for a reason so make sure your espresso is at the best quality possible and also your coffee liqueur thats why I am happy to see finally our Mr Black in your country and also more and more specialty roasters and coffee shops. Ice is elementary ingredient in the cocktail and cannot be underestimated. It has to be at the best quality too to provide ideal dilution and cooling effect. Unfortunately baristas still dont pay attention on this and bartenders dont pay attention on good quality coffee.”

What is your most successful creation of coffee in good spirits? Can you give us the recipe?

“Competition drinks are good for professional judges and not really for your every day guests. I am focusing now on my guest and on their preferences so I would say my fav creation so fart is Espresso MarTIKI:

Espresso Martiki

One of the recepies of Martin Hudak, photo by Martin Hudak

40ml Plantation Pineapple Rum
20ml Mr Black Coffee Liqueur
30ml Fresh Pineapple Juice
15ml Orgeat Syrup
30ml Espresso

Lately, alcoholic solutions with coffee have been gaining ground: do you think this is a trend that could also become established in Italy? Is it a more popular alternative abroad?

“I mean birthplace of alcohol and coffee is rooted historically in countries like Italy or France and we going back to 17th century where Amaro was consumed for medicinal purposes same as coffee. It is nothing new we just need to learn how to use it and make more modern and attractive for our guests. Italian aperitivo lifestyle is the best opportunity for coffee cocktails to be introduced to the wider audience.”

Do you think it could be a resource for club managers to offer coffee-based cocktails to differentiate themselves from the competition? What do you need to know?

“Absolutely! If everyone gonna make just Espresso Martini than its gonna be boring life. We have to be different and offer something unique and different than our neighbour. I would suggest them to team up with local coffee shop or roastery and seek for help from professional baristas. Thats the best way how to appreciate and learn more about specialty coffee.

Hudak, are you planning to compete again in the Coffee in good spirits category?

“After seven years in nationals and four times in the world finals I think it is time for me to take break and let others to compete. I would rather prefer to mentor and help others to achieve their goals.”

Tell us about your recently published book: what is it about, how is it structured and who is it aimed at (where can we buy it)?

Book Mockup Vol.2 by Anthony Boyd Graphics

“It is first book of its kind where you can find everything about history of coffee cocktails to the present moment and the future. You can find there 40 recipes for different coffee cocktails and learn a lot about techniques behind them. You can order it online with world wide shipping here.”


What are your next projects and perhaps goals?

The bright future of Martin Hudak, photo by Martin Hudak

“I would like to open one more bar outside of Australia so lets see how we will go with this. Also I would like my book to be sold in every country. Big dreams but I only dream big.”

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