Behind the bar at Steer – Cucumber and apple Martini

Steer Bar & Grill
637-641 Chapel St
South Yarra, 3141
(03) 9040 1188
Google map

Not too long ago… actually awhile ago, a group of food bloggers were invited to Steer for dinner (I need to write about it at some point – so slack). During dinner, we were asked if any of us will be interested to go behind the scenes at Steer to learn how a restaurant is run. Basically to find out the manic and the hardwork in running a restaurant. I raised my hand…. of course and some people thought that I was crazy. Maybe I am. I shall soon find out, right?

This is David, the bar and function manager at Steer. He was hard at work while I stood back and watch. I did help a little but left bad that I could not have helped more. Poor guy… no time for staff dinner and had to work through the night, hungry. Kitchen was also hammered that evening so there was no hope of getting the guys to cook him something.

David at Steer

I am not going to go into details on the first day behind the bar at Steer. That will come later. I just want to share this Cucumber and apple martini cocktail that David (Bar and Functions Manager) and myself came up after he imparted some invaluable cocktail knowledge to me.Making cocktails and cooking share the same principle. It is really important to get the basics right and also a good understanding of flavour combination. Getting the balance right is so important and so with cooking. Make the cocktail, taste and adjust if required.

Cucumber and apple martini

Cucumber and apple martini


Glassware: Chilled martini glass


  • 30ml of Hendricks Gin (Base)
  • 15ml of Dolin Vermouth Blanc (Modifier)
  • 30ml of apple juice (Filler)
  • 15ml of freshly squeezed lime juice (Balance)
  • 20ml of sugar syrup (Balance)
  • Cucumber – 2 slices for muddling and 2 slices for garnish


  1. Muddle 2 slices of cucumber in a glass to break it down
  2. Pour gin, vermouth, sugar syrup, lime juice and apple juice into the same glass. Ice it up and then shake hard. This needs to be shaken hard to break down the cucumber
  3. Taste. Adjust if required. Double or fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Serve with 2 slices of cucumber garnish

The base components that make up a cocktail – Base, Modifier, Sweet/Sour (Balance) and Filler. We started from the base which is gin. Hendricks Gin is quite delicate in flavour. Initially, I thought honey might go well with cucumber and apple. We tried it but felt that it was too strong and will takeover the taste of Gin. I wanted something floral and more elegant. And David suggested the Dolin Vermouth Blanc. Perfect. Such a beautiful bottle of Vermouth. We tweaked the sweetness a couple of times and voila…. I love it!

I have learnt a lot about cocktails in one night. Plus I got to taste one of the yummiest Negroni ever! So so freaking awesome! Will share another day. So stay tune :)

I am not a fan of the part where I have to stand all night but I guess it is part of the job description. No wonder my hospitality friends are always complaining about backaches. The feet hurts. And me riding the city bike trail in the morning certainly added to my pain!

I will be learning about whiskey this evening. And tasting it, of course. Tough life but someone got to do it. Chin Chin!