Coffee has been all the rage. The food landscape around the world has seen a rapid increase in the number of specialty coffee bars and cafes over the last few years. New names have popped up from under the radar and some have even crossed the borders from their place of origin to regions where they’re less known. In Singapore, we have seen the likes of Kurasu and Omotesando Koffee hailing from different parts of Japan to settle amongst our homegrown cafes and roasters Chye Seng Huat Hardware, Nylon Coffee Roasters, Homeground Coffee Roasters and Amber Ember, to name a few.
There are differing opinions on the nucleus of coffee culture as we know it. London and Australia are the most popular places as these are where the realm of specialty coffee is most booming. However, there is no disputing the birthplace of Mr Black – Australia.
A coffee liqueur to break the market, Mr Black exudes class, simplicity and authenticity from construction to presentation. Behold a clear, rectangular glass bottle that fits comfortably in the door of your refrigerator. Clean and minimalist, a non-imposing label symbolic of the brand sits at the lower quarter of the bottle, and the bottle bares its black-spirited beauty for all to see. With its debut in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Tom Baker, Managing Founder of Mr Black, offers some insight to the Mr Black story.
It all begins in the main ingredient – coffee. Real coffee, made the same way all quality specialty coffee is made: specialty grade coffee beans, a scientific approach to roasting and brewing, and for them, distillation. Tom remarks that the story begins at the root: “We source 100% arabica beans from different growing regions (this season we’re using Columbian, Kenyan, and Papua New Guinean) and roast on site at our distillery an hour north of Sydney. We use a proprietary cold-brewing process to highlight the phenomenal flavours in our coffees, and fortify the product using an exceptionally pure Australian grain-based spirit. No artificial flavours. Not sickly sweet. Real coffee. Made well.”
Half the sugar, ten times the coffee of old-world coffee liqueurs – that’s the secret of Mr Black’s flavour.
“For us, coffee is a religion. We established the business in 2013 with a simple mission – to take the craft, passion, and culture of coffee into the night. That’s why we get out of bed in the morning.”
With big clients under the belt now, we asked Tom if Mr Black has plans to take over the world. Here’s his response:
“Yes there certainly is! …. the bar world at least. I mentioned our mission earlier, and the fact the craft coffee culture is now so prevalent around the world, made us wonder why it hadn’t permeated the bar industry. People love good coffee, and they love craft cocktails, and Mr Black is the perfect bridge between those two worlds. Fortunately for us, many of the world’s leading bars and bartenders agree. We’re blown away that you can now find Mr Black everywhere from the American Bar at The Savoy London, to Eleven Madison Park & The Nomad in New York, to Jigger & Pony and Manhattan in Singapore. Most recently in Singapore, we have also made Mr Black available on Redmart so it is conveniently accessible to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.”
In just a span of 5 short years, Mr Black has developed into a team of 30 caffeinated evangelists around the world from two guys in a shed in Erina, Australia. ‘Evangelists’ would be a concise word to call them – they spread the good word about the virtues of coffee after dark. But as amazing as coffee liqueur is, it still isn’t the go-to spirit of choice for many who drink. But Tom is confident that Mr Black will change the game.
“While the pack says “coffee liqueur”, Mr Black bears little resemblance to coffee liqueurs of the past. As one of the world’s favourite flavours, coffee deserves far greater consideration after 3pm. With its authentic bittersweet taste, Mr Black is the perfect drink for those looking for an evening hit of their favourite flavour. We challenge people to throw out preconceived ideas and try Mr Black in a modern coffee cocktail made by your favourite bar or at home,” Tom says.
So how can we enjoy this stud of a drink? Tom promises that “if you love coffee, you’ll enjoy Mr Black simply chilled or on the rocks.” He comments that the best way to understand the difference between Mr Black and other familiar flavours is by taking the spirit neat, without other flavours that might inhibit or alter the drink. However, if you want to get creative, you can add the spirit to your favourite classic cocktail; he specifically names the “Turbo G&T” and “Cold Fashioned” when asked for recommendations.
For those of you who are thinking about adding Mr Black to coffee, Tom has done it too, so you’re not being weird. “I prescribe to the ‘made cold, drink cold’ approach to coffee, so Mr Black naturally works the best in cold drinks. Dropping a shot in a cold-brew or iced coffee is your best bet,” Tom affirms. That would make for a truly meta drink.
So what can we expect from Mr Black in the coming years? Tom’s got big plans. “Every bar on earth should have a bottle of Mr Black on it, and we won’t stop until we’ve achieved that. Coffee continues to explode in popularity around the world, and we’re going to keep bringing that into the night!”
Mr Black is the new world coffee liqueur that you won’t want to miss. Look out for the tall, dark and handsome bottle at Jigger & Pony, Atlas Bar, Caffe Fernet, Chihuly Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, Fat Prince and Manhattan, Singapore, or get it for yourself from Redmart today.