Steve the Bartender’s Cocktail Guide

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Tools | Techniques | Recipe

Steven Roennfeldt (“Steve the Bartender”)

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Introduction

In this cocktail recipe book review we’re taking a look at the beginner friendly “Cocktail Guide” from Steven Roennfeldt, better known as “Steve the Bartender” on YouTube.

Since this is going to be a review with a lot of social media references, I’ll lead into it by saying that Steve is the embodiment of Alex Hormozi’s mantra that “Extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time”. Following a career in bartending, in 2015, Steve set out on a mission to upload a cocktail video a day, every day, for a year. Steve’s channel now has over 700,000 subscribers with many of his videos exceeding 1 million views. One of the things that sets his “Cocktail Guide” apart from others is the presence of a QR code in the corner of every recipe with a link to watch Steve make the drink. This is truly a beginner friendly tome. Let’s dive into it.

Overview

The first recipes the reader encounters are on page 26, and in a unique twist they are for DIY syrups and mixers. Many cocktail books leave these recipes to the end, however, putting them up front ensures that the reader is already familiar with them before getting into the specs. Readers of this blog will know that simple make-at-home ingredients are one of my favorite aspects of the hobby, so this section was highly appreciated. Tools, glassware and techniques are well covered before we arrive at my favorite part of this book, menus.

Many “luxury” cocktail books (looking at you Aviary) throw out so many esoteric ingredients that it is nearly hopeless for the average enthusiast to make even a fraction of the drinks in the book. While these aspirational books can be quite beautiful, it’s not really the sort of thing the average fan is looking for. Steve blows this part out of the water. Steve proposes simple 4 simple, spirit-focused menus and specific shopping lists to go with them. I love this, and think it’s a touch that more authors should look towards on both the mixology and the culinary side.

Recipes

There are 125 recipes covered in the Cocktail Guide, grouped by the base spirit: Aperitivo, Whiskey, Gin, Rum, Tequila/Mezcal, Brandy/Cognac, Vodka, Fortified Wine and Liqueurs. With his Aussie background it is not likely surprising that the weightiest section of the book seems dedicated to Gin. Each spec is nicely presented on an open face, with a page dedicated to the recipe itself and the opposing page presenting a lovely image of the final product. The recipe layout is easy to read from a distance, and gives quick insight into glassware, method (shaken or stirred?) and garnish. Many recipes include useful tips and suggestions for alterations, with measures given in both metric and imperial (thanks Steve).

The Ideal {x} Ingredient Bar

Now for a little personal bit, in the last 6 months I have had the opportunity (and pleasure) to interact with Steve one-on-one on a separate side project. He seems like a great guy. Steve inspired me to resurrect this blog, and the technologies associated with it. As a sign of my appreciation to Steve, and with a wink to his menus, I’ve decided to add a new feature to my book reviews called “The Ideal {x} Ingredient Bar”. Given 5, 10 or 20 ingredients, how many recipes from a given book can you make? Let’s take a look.

The Ideal 5 Ingredient Bar
Bourbon
Campari
Orange Juice
Sweet Vermouth
Soda Water
Americano
Boulevardier
Garibaldi
5 Ingredients Makes 3 Recipes
The Ideal 10 Ingredient Bar
Bourbon
Campari
Fernet Branca
Gin
Honey Syrup
Lemon Juice
Lime Cordial
Simple Syrup
Soda Water
Sweet Vermouth
Americano
Bee’s Knees
Boulevardier
Gimlet
Gold Rush
Hanky Panky
Midnight Stinger
10 Ingredients Makes 8 Recipes
The Ideal 20 Ingredient Bar
Basil Leaves
Bourbon Whiskey
Campari
Fernet Branca
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Gin
Grapefruit Juice
Honey Syrup
Lemon
Lemon Juice
Lime Cordial
Lime Juice
Mint Leaves
Old Tom Gin
Orange Liqueur
Raspberry Jam
Simple Syrup
Soda Water
Sweet Vermouth
Tonic Water
Americano
Basil Smash
Bee’s Knees
Boulevardier
Brown Derby
Cosmonaut
Garibaldi
Gimlet
Gin + Tonic
Gin Daisy
Gold Rush
Hanky Panky
Midnight Stinger
Mint Julep
Negroni
Southside
Tom Collins
Whiskey Smash
20 Ingredients Makes 18 Recipes

Analytics

Now, let’s take a look at the rest of the analytics for Steve’s Cocktail Guide.

Steve the Bartender's Cocktail Guide - Analytical Overview Image

Conclusion

Overall, the Cocktail Guide is a great, gentle introduction to a very wide canon of cocktails. While there are a high number of single-use ingredients, the ideal bar shows that a lot can be done with just a little as well. From a beginner standpoint, the fact that most of these items can be found easily on store shelves will make it much simpler to get started. The QR codes linking to the YouTube videos though is what puts this one over the edge as a recommended buy for any budding cocktail enthusiast.

Learn more about Steve on his website https://stevethebartender.com.au/.
To buy the book check out https://cocktailguide.com/