Mixologist Of The Month - Marian Beke

Marian's Bio.

Date of Birth: 25th March 1983

Birth place: Slovakia

Height: 5' 6"/1.72m

Eye colour: Blue-brown

Nationality: Slovakian

I started in the hospitality business in my father's wine cellar when I was just 13 back in Slovakia. These would have be my first expereinces with guests and service.

In those days, we didn't even have such a places as cocktails bars, so it was a few more years until I found myself in Prague, watching a Cocktail bartender mixing my first cocktails.

From that day, I knew I wanted to become a bartender, and left Slovakia for London and its well developed and world-famous cocktail culture.

I started my first job in London's, Soho Attica Club as a barback, where I strived to improve my language, and eventually to move to behind the bar in the near future.

Later, I was lucky enough to work in some of london's most iconic bars, such as Townhouse , Montgomery Place, Purl and the newly opened Nightjar, where customers and collegues have taught me more than my collection of bar books.
Marian's Signature Cocktails.

24V Cobbler

Name of Samurai

BBC Cocktail

Awards, accolades, trophies.

BBC Cocktail of the Year Award

Your claim to fame?
When I see that all our guests leave with a happy feeling and that they had a great experience, rather than just buying a drinks the whole night.
What do you as a mixologist think about beer?
I like beers especially German styles. For cocktail mixing, I prefer dry styles; ales or porters, otherwise pumpkin or fruit beers are interesting to be used too.

Any brews of note for you?
I'm big fan of Meantime London Brewery as well as Aspalls.

If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
There is not an average bartender as there is not an average guest...
I have no real advice. Rather, I'd like to thank all bartenders who come to work because they believe in it, and they have a passion for their art.

As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
I analyze the local market before making any recipes. I then focus on the profile of the guests, then the style of the bar, and combine classic recipes with fresh ideas, all connected to the culture of the location and the food on offer.

How did you get started?
Back in Slovakia in the capital city at the Paparazzi Bar.

How were you trained in bartending?
Much of training has been whilst working in bars, as well as various bar schools in the UK and overseas.

Did you take any courses?
Yes - Over 25!

What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
London is very well developed and people like to try new things, so it's easy to introduce something new. The good thing is that most of new ideas coming out, are still very focused on the actual guest, rather then just creations by bartenders.

What's your process for creating a new cocktail?
inspiration is key. Understand basic ingredients is another. Therefore my limit is always being extended by being introduced to new spirits, botanicals, cooking, flavours, spices and by travelling to new places and experiencing new cultures.

What is your favourite cocktail to drink? To make?
It all depends on the time of day, the day itself and the season we're in. It's almost like a wine . You drink a different wine before lunch, perhaps two different wines during lunch and a sweet wine with the sweet course.

What are some of your favorite tools?
I love a well made shaker, a well balanced jigger,a strong strainer, very sharp knives and dry, cold ice.

What is your favourite mixology resource?
It has to be guests and open food markets, other than that books, the internet and by visiting other bars.

What does success mean for you?
I do not see success as such in 'the trade'. Is it to win a cocktail competitions? No. Making a bit more money than last year? Not really! But, personal satisfaction from other people, that's what counts for me.

What are some current trends you've seen in the cocktail market?
Bartenders growing their knowledge so fast with spirits companies helping them. We're really catching up on the chefs. Their knowledge is pushing the line of bartending to another level.

What goes into creating a cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
Think of who you are making it for, then decide on base ingredients and balance and finally, the way you want to make and present it.

What is your favourite drink to make?
Any drink, well made, which tastes great!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
i have an idea but will keep it as a secret ...

If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
I'm rubbish at street dancing, but would love to have the opportunity do it if I'm ever young again!

Your hangover cure?
Good rest or sleep and plenty of water. A cold shower and vitamins helps too.

Your biggest career influencer?
Hard to say, but there are a few, so I don't want to forget some names. I would thank Ago Perrone for a great time we shared at Montgomery Place.

First drink you ever tried?
Something Tiki like swiming pool or a gimlet - not sure.

We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Long Island style or shot drinks.

£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Buy properies and rent them out.

Bar or cellar at home?
A little bar.

Favourite beer?

I just love well done dessert wines from Germany or Australia.

Fruit eau-de-vies.

Still brandy crusta.

Fav Bar?
I don't have one, since its all depends on bartenders, rather then the bar itself.

I have two. One is Japanese and the other Russian here in London, but it can be any restaurant as long as company is good.

World location?

Favourite film?

The one I read until end in less than a week.

Lilly White.

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