When you glance over Steve The Bartender’s YouTube channel, you immediately notice the versatility of cocktails. Warming libations for winter, refreshing drinks for summer, fancy aperitifs, highballs for gatherings with friends… Hundreds of videos provide inspiration as well as useful tips for the cocktail lover. Steve’s been in the hospitality game for close to two decades, and now runs his own Mobile Cocktail Bar and Online Barware Store besides the channel. In the latest installment of The Tastemakers, he shows us the versatility of rum, with 5 mojito variations.
AMEX ESSENTIALS: Could you briefly introduce yourself, for those who don’t know you?
Hi! My name is Steven Roennfeldt – and I am also known as Steve the Bartender. I started a cocktail vlog about 3 years ago and have created over 300 videos to date – and yes I’ve drunk all the cocktails I’ve created! I’m located in Adelaide, South Australia and I’ve been in the hospitality industry since my early teenage years. For the last 6 years I have been running a mobile cocktail bartending business where my team and I have served a range of cocktails at a number of great events including weddings, birthdays and corporate events.
What is it about making cocktails that has continued to fascinate you?
Cocktails are just so versatile! There is a drink for every occasion and cocktails can be tailored to every person’s taste. I especially enjoy the challenge of creating a drink that changes someone’s perceptions – a perfect example is when someone mentions they had a bad experience and dislike tequila, I can mix them a well-balanced tequila-based cocktail and 9 times out of 10, they’re converted! Cocktails are a careful balance of sweet, sour and bitter and once you’ve learned how to balance a drink, you are able to create beautiful drinks for your guests to enjoy. I also find it fascinating that one spirit can be so flexible and lend itself to so many different drinks, ingredients and flavour profiles.
If you’re just starting making cocktails at home, what is the one thing you should remember?
To have fun and learn as much as you can – making cocktails shouldn’t be stressful or difficult. Mixing drinks is a time to experiment and find out what you do or don’t like and you can only discover this by experimenting, learning and refining. Making cocktails is also about being social and sharing the experience with friends. Invite a few friends over and experiment!
A great example of a versatile drink is a Mojito which calls for a white rum - you can still substitute the white rum for an aged rum for a more complex flavour profile or even a spiced rum which will add vanilla and other spice notes.
In the video, you’re creating cocktails with rum. Is there a particular type of rum you should use?
Rum is such a good example of the versatility of a spirit. Whilst most cocktails do call for a white rum, aged rum or dark rum – most cocktails will still work very well by substituting one style with another. White rums (also known as silver or light rum) have minimal colour, have lighter flavours but more flavours typical of a younger spirit. An aged rum is aged in a barrel which imparts its signature amber/darker colour and a sweeter, richer flavour. A dark rum is aged the longest, giving it a darker colour and a deeper, smoky sweet flavour.
A great example of a versatile drink is a Mojito which calls for a white rum – you can still substitute the white rum for an aged rum for a more complex flavour profile or even a spiced rum which will add vanilla and other spice notes (depending on the particular rum of course!).
What do you like about rum cocktails?
Rum is very versatile – as mentioned previously, there are many styles, flavours and profiles. Rum has a great range across seasons too – a dark or spiced rum work well in Winter cocktails and white or aged rums work great in Summer drinks – tiki drinks being perfect examples for Summery, tropical cocktails.