Get a look at the soon to land Maybe Sammy menu, titled Mirage

It’s their ‘most technically complex’ menu yet, and it’s a beauty.

Get a look at the soon to land Maybe Sammy menu, titled Mirage
The Apollo 11 page from the new Maybe Sammy menu.

It has been a busy year already for the folks at the Maybe Group. They opened the Mexico-inspired El Primo Sanchez in February, have been forever jetting off for takeover shifts across the other side of the world, they hosted eight nights of bar takeovers from 16 of the world’s best bars in Sydney in April, and in the process were acquired by Public Hospitality.

Busy times indeed. And in the midst of all that, the team at the flagship venue, Maybe Sammy, have been putting the final touches on their latest cocktail list.

Called Mirage, the menu kicks off on Wednesday 8 May (that’s next week), and according to the bar’s creative director Martin Hudak is their most technically complex menu they’ve put together to date.

It’s a beauty of a thing, too.

There are 14 new drinks on the list, each of which has been inspired by an unexpected personal moment in the lives of the Maybe Sammy team.

Whilst each drink is drawn from a very human moment, their design agency, The Bar Brand People, have used AI-generated art to design each page. The result is a beautiful, striking thing.

Below, I asked Hudak a few questions around the inspiration behind the list, how it came together, and how they’ve adapted their processes for service in one of the busiest bars in Sydney while maintaining the high standards and hospitality that comes with being a bar on The World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Sam Bygrave: What’s the big idea behind the new menu?

Martin Hudak: Mirage comes from the French verb mirer (“to look at”), which is related to mirror. Mirer, itself, is from Latin mīrārī (“to wonder at”), the ancestor of the commonly seen admire, miracle, and marvel. We have used the word ‘mirage’ as the central concept for this cocktail menu but in a nutshell, we want our guests to ‘expect the unexpected.’ I asked the bar team to create a cocktail each that reflected a personal moment in their life that was unexpected, or a situation or experience that turned out differently to what they had imagined. And it was these personal moments that then led to the creation of each of the cocktails.

How does this one differ from previous menus?

Mirage is our most technically complex cocktail menu ever. Our team have spent hours in our lab experimenting with flavours, processes and techniques to get their cocktails to the finish point. It has been a rewarding challenge for all of us – we’ve pushed ourselves outside of our respective comfort zones to develop a menu that I’m really proud of. And that’s not to say we’ve done away with the theatre and energy people expect from a Maybe Sammy experience – that’s all still there.

Could you describe one of the drinks on the list that you love? What makes it special?

The Golden Pear is one of the most elegant drinks on the menu and it really represents our ethos and approach towards modern drinking. It is an easy twist on a classic Champagne Cocktail, utilising Michter’s Bourbon whiskey infused with indigenous tree bark called Mesoyi which you can find in Papua New Guinea mostly and which I stumbled upon on my travels. Essentially it looks like cinnamon, but it has nice creamy taste of coconut. Then it is mixed with Quince Brandy or as French call it eau de vie or in my region you would call it Pálinka, [with a] touch of sugar and champagne.

The cocktail is served in a golden ceramic pear but there is no pear flavour profile. Instead, we use quince which sort of represents pears and apples but it is less known. Also, rather than serving it in an elegant champagne flute, you have to hold it in this heavy pear which gives you a completely different multi-sensory experience.

How long did this menu take to develop — can you outline the process?

We started throwing around concepts for the new menu last October and by December we had locked in the Mirage theme. The outline of the cocktails was done in January, and we spent February and March finessing the recipes, finalising suppliers and working on the execution. April was all about the photo shoot and developing the branding and marketing strategy around the craziness of the Maybe Cocktail Festival and that brings us to now.

Get a look at the menu for yourself.


Maybe Sammy is always pretty busy — how does this menu help you to cope with service? Did you have to do anything differently?

We have had to change our operational approach and strategy completely for this menu. Our prep is way more complicated plus our tools are more advanced. We have our own lab space now, which we will expand by end of this year to create a centralised lab for all our venues. We have hired more people to assist in prep to ensure we eliminate errors during service, and we have made some design changes behind the bar. Although the cocktails are complex and difficult to prep, they will actually take less time to make in the moment so we hope to pump out more drinks than usual and satisfy our guests more efficiently.