I won the Irish National Cocktail Championship in 2014. My drink MollyMia was inspired by two very special young ladies’. Molly Byrne the daughter of Declan Byrne and former President of the BAI and my daughter Mia! For me the name is catchy and memorable.
2. What opportunities came your way following your win?
Things really snowballed after the win at Food & Bev Live 2014. My profile increased immensely. I got to represent Ireland at the World Cocktail Championship in Capetown and from there I went on to win other competitions. For example, one of my creations was selected as the featured cocktail on Aer Lingus business class flight - Ireland to New York - so literally the sky is the limit!
3. What did it feel like to be representing Ireland on the world stage at the World Cocktail Championships?
It was a great honour - Ireland is now my home, I have been living here with my wife and daughter for over eleven years, so there was a great sense of pride to don the green jacket and win a Silver medal for Ireland. Incidentally it was only the third time in almost forty years that Ireland has won a medal at this prestigious event, so this made my win even more special.
4. Did the Irish win further your career prospects?
Little did I realise at the time, but my 2014 win did two very important things for me. Firstly, it qualified me to represent Ireland at the World Championships. Secondly, by winning a Silver medal this provided me with pedigree - I am now recognised on a world stage. Since then I have travelled the world and continue to do so. I am regularly invited to guest bartending shifts in some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Next month I'm off to Dubai for a guest bar shift in the Four Seasons Hotel.
5. What direction has your career taken you in over the last few years?
My career has quite literally taken off! Last year I was on 42 flights around the world. In January I was invited back to the city where I was brought up Vilnius, Lithuania where over 160 bartenders from across the country came to see my presentation - the venue was packed to capacity - it was a lovely to return and share my experiences.
6. What advice would you give to competitors in the forthcoming Irish Cocktail Championships, taking place at Food & Bev Live?
The one thing that I would say is to believe in yourself and follow your dreams - no matter what anyone says!
I couldn't emphasise the importance of practicing your drink and your technique. In the run up to my Irish National Championship win, I spent at least eight hours a day practicing and practicing – and, it certainly paid off!
7. How important are supporters to competitors? Would you encourage competitors' work colleagues and managers to attend Food & Bev Live? Does audience support help?
I would encourage everyone to attend. This is where the best in the business showcase their talents. Let's face it we can all learn from each other.
8. We've experienced a gin revolution, what's the next big thing in cocktails?
Rum and maybe tequila. Gin is fashionable at the moment, but as we all know fashions change. There is much talk at present about Rum. Will this appeal to a female market? I'm not so sure. What I will say however, is that everyone loves a "tasty drink" no matter what the base spirit is.
9. What's your secret ingredient. What should every good cocktail always have?
It should always be made with care and attention. I like to call it "incremental improvement". Always experiment, try different ways and different ingredients. I never accept the status quo. That's why I became successful. Question everything, and always look for a better way to do things! Every element is important, the way the bartender is presented, the use of fresh ingredients (where applicable), the method in which the drink is made, glassware is crucial, the garnish, they all have a very important role to play.
10. What's next for Eddie Rudzinskas in 2018?
What a great question, and also a very significant one - in the week that I pack up my bar tending job! I have decided to follow my dream to take my personal blog - Cocktails for You - to the next stage. This year I have offers to work with some of the most innovative drinks companies in the world to make crazy videos in crazy locations and to inspire the next generation!
2018 will be all about continuing to create world leading drinks, delivering new experiences, and offering continued support to the world bar tending community on Cocktails For You.
I will be judging at the Irish Cocktail Championships taking place at Food & Bev Live – 6th and 7th Feb at the CityWest, Dublin – make sure to stop by and say hello!
Follow on social: @cocktailsforyou