New Dates Coming Soon / Metropolitan Pavilion
13 September 2017
Your favorite Aussie

Interview with Tom Baker, Co-founder of Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur 

We had the chance to catch up with Tom Baker, of Mr Black Cold Press Coffee Liqueur to find out more about this enchanting liquor taking New York by storm.


To those not familiar with Mr Black, how would you describe your product?

Tom: Mr Black is a bittersweet blend of cold brew coffee and wheat vodka. It’s boozy coffee for coffee lovers plain and simple. Real coffee, real booze, carpe ****ing diem.

You launched in Australia in 2013, expanded to the UK in 2015 and then hopped the pond over to America - what is the next destination on your hit list?

Tom: We go where the coffee is good, and the drinking is good. We’re not going to stop until every bar, coffee shop and coffee-lover has a bottle on their back bar at home. We came to the US because you’re all a nation of abject coffee lovers and know how to put away a glass of liquor. So we’ll start with the East Coast and move West.

Correct me if I'm wrong but Mr Black is the only cold-brewed coffee liquor on the market. What was the reason behind this decision?

Tom: Lots of companies use the cold-brew technique to make a coffee liqueur – but none of them make a coffee liqueur like Mr Black. We make unbelievably tasty cold brew and exceptionally clean spirit – that means less sugar, more flavor, a better drink. More bitter. More balanced. More complex. It’s simple, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Can you talk me through the distilling process and what happens to the beans once they arrive at your distillery?

Tom: If we told you that, we’d have to kill you. I joke, but in all seriousness, we’re quite protective of our production process. It’s taken five years and over 1000 iterations to get Mr Black to where it is, so we’re careful about what we share and to whom. We roast coffee & distill liquor – the rest I’ll just have to leave up to your imagination.

What's in your cup at 8 am? 

Tom:As you might expect from someone who makes coffee liquor for a living, not many of my days start by 8 am. I’ve had a cappuccino for breakfast every day for the last 15 years – very few of them before 8 am!
Are you going to be hanging around in New York following the festival? What's on your schedule?

Tom: A large part of my job is visiting the many great humans who sell Mr Black every day. Conveniently, our customers tend to be the world’s best bars, Michelin starred restaurants and coffee shops, so it’s not exactly a hardship posting!

What is your go-to chill out space while you’re stateside? 

Tom: Two Hands in Tribeca. Nothing like a little slice of home when you’re abroad. No laptops, no Wi-Fi. ****ing excellent coffee, healthy, nutritious food, good chat, and cheeky Mr Black to finish the day.

Talk to me about baking with Mr Black. I have vivid dreams about a chocolate-coffee Mr Black infused cupcake of sorts. Have you had any joy in incorporating Mr. Black into food recipes?

Tom:Where to start…In our short history we’ve had the pleasure to try dates-soaked-in-Mr-Black at Australia’s premier fine dining restaurant Rockpool, boozy coffee ganache, Espresso Martini layer cakes, coffee-smoked-meats, and quite obviously an adults-only affogato – two ounces over a scoop of ice cream.

Coffee has many flavors, analogous and complementary to modern cuisine – it amazes me it’s not more widespread in cooking. The same chemical reaction – the Maillard reaction – that gives both coffee, steak and barrel aged whiskey it’s moreish umami flavor.

You did a London Espresso Martini Fest back in August, can New York expect this anytime soon? 

Tom: In the last year, we’ve held festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, and London and served over 15,000 drinks to an unbelievable number of coffee-loving humans. You better believe we’re coming to New York.
It’s been duly noted that your favorite way to enjoy Mr Black is straight, on the rocks but for those who like to mix it up a bit, what are your favorite Mr. Black cocktails?

Tom: My new D.O.C is a ‘Coffee House’ created by famed bar The Everleigh in Melbourne. 45ml Mr Black, 25ml Calle23 Reposado Tequila, Orange bitters. Stirred. Drunk quickly. In succession.

Okay, thanks for sticking with me here Tom, final question...Mr Black, where did the name originate? 

Tom: For some, coffee is more than caffeine. It’s a religion. A ritual. A source of both fuel and focus.  It’s our culture. And if it’s yours, Mr Black is for you. A deity of sorts, I suppose?

And if you’ve ever spilled some on a white shirt, you’ll quickly find out it’s very, very black. 

Be sure to stop by the Coffee Cocktail Bar to enjoy a signature Mr Black cocktail and stop by Mr Black's stand at the festival to meet the man behind this boozy coffee creation.
(Only available to those aged 21 years or older)

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