Studland’s ‘king of the cocktail’ serves up a romantic surprise

A bartender from a Studland hotel, who is used to winning top awards for his cocktails, has won the heart of his girlfriend with a touching musical proposal.

Gabor Molnar, who is bar manager at The Pig on the Beach, has picked up a string of prizes for his cocktails, including the UK Bartenders Guild top award. So when it came to proposing to his girlfriend Hannah Collins, the mixologist from Hungary wanted to serve up something with a little extra sparkle.

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Gabor Molnar
Alex West

Gabor Molnar is recognised as one of the best cocktail makers in the country

Bruno Mars song

Gabor took Hannah to his native Hungary to meet his family and it was while they were over there, walking through the streets of Budapest, he popped the all important question.

Gabor explained:

“I told Hannah once that if we ever heard the song ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars I would ask her to marry me.”

Being a man who mixes his drinks with precision, he wasn’t going to leave that to chance. So he recruited the help of a friend who was a street musician to start playing the song as they walked past and another friend, a photographer, to capture the moment.

Zoltan Szecsodi

Marry me

Zoltan Szecsodi

‘Marry You’

Zoltan Szecsodi

Yes – ‘I think I wanna marry you’

“Of course, we had cocktails”

The couple first started going out last year after getting together through a dating app.

Hannah said:

“It was love at first sight for him but I wasn’t convinced. It took me a few dates to come round to the idea.

“I was working in a children’s care home in Salisbury. We met up at the hotel after his shift and yes, of course, we had cocktails, though someone else made them on that occasion.”

Gabor Molnar and Hannah Collins
Gabor Molnar

It was love at first sight for Gabor, while Hannah took a few more dates to be persuaded

“She was going to be my wife”

Gabor said:

“Once I figured out she was going to be my wife, I asked her to be my girlfriend.”

Hannah, who is from Bournemouth, now works as a receptionist at the hotel. They plan to get married next year.

Gabor Molnar and Hannah Collins
Gabor Molnar

The couple plan on getting married in Bournemouth next year

“King of the cocktail”

Gabor studied to be a chef in Hungary and has been working in hospitality for eleven years. He moved to London in 2015 where he worked at a restaurant in Canary Wharf, before moving to The Pig in Brockenhurst in Hampshire and then the sister restaurant and hotel at Studland in Dorset in 2018.

His bartending skills have gained him national and international recognition.

Tara Crabb, general manager at The Pig on the Beach, said:

“Gabor’s knowledge and flare for creating the most incredible home grown cocktails is inspiring. He was a well respected mixologist in London before joining The Pig and is known to us at The Pig on the Beach as the king of the cocktail.”

Gabor Molnar
Alex West

Meticulous attention to detail

“Here for the fun”

Among the awards he has won are the UK Bartenders Guild national cocktail competition in 2019, as well as the bartender of the year award in the same year. This year, in a field of 140 competitors, he missed out on first place in the cocktails competition by just one point.

But Gabor is philosophical:

“We are here for the fun – winning is just the cherry on top. I was happy with the result and happy for my friend who won it.

“The secret to a good cocktail is passion and good ingredients. It’s always fun making them and you capture that fun for the customer.”

Gabor Molnar
Alex West

Cocktail making is only a small part of the job, but an enjoyable one

“Be a great host”

But of course making cocktails is really just a small part of his bar work.

Gabor said:

“It’s all about the guest and how to be a great host.”

Gabor Molnar
UKBG

Gabor Molnar with one of his many awards

“Creativity and maths”

Hannah said:

“I’m obviously biased but he is genuinely very good at what he does. There’s such a creativity and maths that goes into it.”

And Gabor believes The Pig on the Beach is a great place to be serving drinks:

“I love the hotel, the location is absolutely amazing, with the sea and the beach and the views. We are really lucky to work here.”

The Pig, Pig on the Beach, hotel, bar, rooms, beach, Dorset, coast, restaurant
Jake Eastham
The Pig, Pig on the Beach, hotel, bar, rooms, beach, Dorset, coast, restaurant
Jake Eastham
The Pig, Pig on the Beach, hotel, bar, rooms, beach, Dorset, coast, restaurant
Jake Eastham

The Pig on the Beach at Studland – spectacular views

“Wherever the wind blows”

As for future plans, there is a blank canvas, or should that be an empty glass..?

Gabor said:

“Wherever the wind blows. I never planned on leaving Hungary, it was just a friend asked me to move to London. We will see what happens.”

Zoltan Szecsodi

‘I think I wanna marry you’

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