My name is Mate Csatlos, I’m 26 and was born in Hungary. My bartending career started four years ago when I discovered my passion for mixing – and socialising. I worked in a few bars in Budapest and Ibiza before coming to London one year ago. I now work at China Tang at The Dorchester as a member of its great team. My passion is to create signature cocktails that tell a story and to learn the history of cocktails, brands and everything behind the scenes.
Mate goes through to the World Class UK 2012 Final with his Classics With A Twist recipe for a Peat & Sand.
What does the World Class competition mean to you?
It’s the most prestigious cocktail competition in the world. It gives you the opportunity to show your personality behind the bar and also you are lucky enough to meet with legends from the industry.
What is your earliest cocktail memory?
Tom Cruise and the movie Cocktail.
Did you choose the profession or did it choose you?
I just fell in love with the profession in my first shift making cocktails. I was amazed to find a common language with people via cocktails. Before that I had never been in a bar or even tried any cocktails or spirits, but at that was a point in my life when I decided to learn as much as I can about this world. And ever since this love is getting deeper and deeper day by day.
How do you think bartending is regarded as a career?
This job is very complex and requires many different skills. If you are lucky to work with excellent bartenders you will pick up some useful advice that you can use further in any place in your life. Behind the bar the bartender becomes a part of the consumer’s life and vice versa. Bartending is one of the most profitable professions – you have the most valuable thing: human connection.
If drink hadn’t entered the equation, what would you like to think you’d be doing now?
Anything what could be done in a creative way.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Sharing life experiences and making new friends.
And the hardest?
Who’s the most memorable person you’ve ever created a cocktail for? Who was it, what was it and why does it stand out for you?
I created my first Bloody Mary for my mum in our kitchen. I made a big mess with tomatoes and after had to clean up the whole kitchen.
Who’s your favourite cocktail drinker and why? (living, dead or fictional)
Ernest Hemingway because I like how much his life was influenced by cocktails – he was regular in many famous bars around the world where he was inspired to write amazing novels.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you picked up at the World Class Forum?
Less is more.
What’s your favourite cocktail:
a) to mix?
b) to drink?
c) on your menu?
Ramos Gin Fizz
List three ingredients you’d put in a cocktail to sum up the facets of your personality.
1. Cucumber – I like vegetables, the pure green nature.
2. Dark chocolate – deep thoughts, deep flavours for me equal with deep emotions.
3. Pomegranate – My life is full of sport and many small projects, like seeds in pomegranate.
You’ve created a World Class cocktail to secure your place in the finals, can you give us a simple failsafe recipe for cocktail lovers to create at home?
45ml Grand Marnier
1 spoon Chestnut honey
20ml warm soya milk infused with jasmine tea 20ml
Whisk together the ingredients in the shaker and shake well with cubed ice. Strain to punch glass garnish with grated chestnut.
The recipe that got him through:
Peat & Sand
20ml Merlet Poire
10ml Fernet Branca
Muddle kumquat and pour in the remaining ingredients. Stir and strain into a jar infused with caraway smoke. Pour into chilled vintage Martini glass and garnish with a caramelised kumquat.