Mixologist Of The Month - Steven Young
- Date of Birth: March 1984
- Height: 6'
- Birthplace: Southend on Sea
- Eye colour: Blue
- Nationality: British
"I started in hotels about 14 years ago as a waiter/pot wash. I then changed roles to a Duty Manager of hotel in West Wales. From here I worked my way up from a waiter, to Chef De Rang, to a F & B Supervisor at the Celtic Manor and 5 Years ago I became Bar Supervisor at Pier64 in Penarth, having NEVER made a cocktail before.
I like to throw myself into cocktail comps, online learning and training sessions etc. I managed three UK Finals in my first 3 years of bartending. I was then offered Bar Manager job at Academy Coffee. In this time the company has grown with multiple sites so now my role is Area Bar Manager."
List of your awards, accolades, trophies.
Patron UK Finalist 2016. Nikka UK Finalist 2017. Licor 43 UK Finalist 2018.
Your claim to fame?
Having served members of royalty and presidents of countries.
Q & A
What do you as a mixologist think about beer? Any brews of note for you?
Beer is a huge part of my job. I love how the craft sector especially has boomed in the last 5 years. The ones closest to my heart are Goose Island, Tiny Rebel and Glamorgan Brewery.
If you could offer a couple of short pieces of advice to the average bartender, what would they be?
Customer service is paramount, an amazing drink will make them remember the bar. But amazing service will make the return over and over again.
Surely you have some pet peeves about bartenders -- care to share?
Brand bashing on social media, it’s just not cool.
As a mixologist/consultant, you work directly with many restaurants on their drink menus -- describe the parts of this process.
In Pier64 the menu had to compliment the food menu. When a new menu was due, I would work through the current menu and identify which cocktails were and were not selling. I would then come up with other cocktails which would replace the not so popular ones. Along with the restaurant manager, we would make sure they cover each course/ dish across the food menu. The next step is to trail the new drinks but have say 15 new ones and only space for 10.
How did you get started?
I wanted to leave hotel trade after 9 years and there was an opening as Bar Supervisor at Pier64. I worked there as the Restaurant Supervisor for years. So the manager took a chance and it worked out really well.
How were you trained in bartending?
Pretty much self-taught. The other Supervisor there Marvin had years of experience and guided me. But no formal training at all.
Did you take any courses?
I’ve done wine tasting courses, training sessions on spirits and currently taking my WSET1.
What are some trends you're seeing in the market?
Old World wines making a comeback at the moment. French Merlots, Italian Rose. UK based spirits especially spiced rum and vodka.
What's your process for creating a new cocktail? And what inspired you in the first place?
Having an idea, which comes from seeing other cocktails or trends. Then literally making the drink in my head first. Only using 4 ingredients to start with. Then making it behind the bar. Finding the sweet point where it’s pretty much there. Then tweaking it until it works.
What is your favourite cocktail To make?
A Manhattan. Just taking your time and stirring it down.
What are some of your favourite tools?
My bar blade, which I've had for 5 years now and my skull hawthorne strainer.
What is your favourite mixology resource?
Books, old cocktail books, Diffords guide, Dead Rabbit Books, Prohibition books.
What does success mean for you?
Means I can look at my kids and know I'm doing something right. Which hopefully they are proud of.
What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Size doesn’t matter. Small and complex drinks. Using small amounts of loads of different ingredients.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Running the bars for Academy. There’s so many on the books to open. So, doing that and making sure the customer is still coming first.
If you weren't in the drinks industry, what do you think you would be doing now?
Mechanic, I started as an apprentice mechanic when I was 16 and loved it.
Your biggest career influencer?
Marvin Dela Cruz by best friend and fellow supervisor from Pier64. Whom without a doubt, I would not be the person/bartender I am today if I didn’t have his influence.
First drink you ever tried?
Cider (Snake Catcher).
We've all had a bad experience with at least one drink. What drink do you most avoid?
Pernod is my kryptonite. Can’t smell it or taste it.
Your hangover cure?
Mac Donalds. Big Mac, Large Fries, Large Coke and a cheese burger.
£10m comes to you. What do you do next?
Tell my wife and take the kids to Disneyland the next day.
Bar or cellar at home?
Lilo and Stitch.
Heavier than Heaven.
Bleach - Nirvana.