Cocktail Innovator

23 Feb 2018
3 min read
Mixology-man of the moment, Ryan Chetiyawardana, talks about his love of New York ingredients and the molecular technicalities of fine drinks…

There are many great similarities between London and New York—it certainly makes it a joy to jump between the two—and the fact that both cities are leading the global scene in terms of fine drinks, it gives me a huge amount of pride to be working on projects in both.

However, one of the differences that really stood out to me about visiting New York was the quality of the produce. The frustration I felt with poor quality and inconsistent crops back in the UK was one of the motivations behind me setting up White Lyan, but when I visited New York for

the first time, I was struck by the variety and quality of the natural produce. As an outsider, I was excited to try many of the different fruits and vegetables that were coming into season, including the heirloom varieties that were being grown in the States. On subsequent visits, it was incredible to see how the produce changed and how it fell into and out of availability. I knew this was what I wanted to base the cocktail programme at Henry’s on The Hudson around; not so much what was available during the season, but what the feeling of the season was and how the plant cycle affected the make up of the crops and the impact this had on their flavour. The cocktails were very much taking my influences from the UK and around the world and taking a perspective on the New York State produce and, of course, the setting of the space within the hotel and the local scene.

Spring became about freshness and new growth, summer was about bounty and fertility, autumn held warmth, with a golden tone to it, while winter —the outgoing menu into spring—was about preservation and hibernation. I use modern and traditional techniques to carry through produce and used a range of traditional and modern ingredients and explored how this would change the flavours. I was very lucky that the hotel had an incredible array of equipment to help with this; large vacuum packers allowed me to store ingredients in the absence of air and to cook using a SousVide and Thermomix allowed me to create complex emulsions and purées, and best of all, a rotary evaporator allowed me to capture and preserve fleeting flavours through cold distillation.

This resulted in the current spring menu, of which there are four sample drinks included. Again, I wanted to use what was available, but I wanted to create a modern take on a seasonal menu. The drinks use the best from New York State, including local beers, wines, spirits to create drinks that emulate the finer weather outside, and the change in mood that accompanies the longer days.

Golden Glory Fizz


57ml Beefeater gin

28.5ml fresh grapefruit juice

21ml soy honey

1 whole egg

Prosecco, to finish



Whisk 2 tbsp Mohawk Valley Spring honey into 500ml white soy sauce. Add all ingredients to a shaker. Shake without ice, shake hard with cubed ice and double strain into a chilled hi-ball glass. Top with Prosecco.


Maid Monster


3 dashes Peychaud bitters

1 dash Angostura bitters

7ml simple syrup

70ml Compass Box Peat Monster whisky



Slice baby cucumbers and roast with Demerara sugar. Add 3 slices roast cucumber to a mixing glass filled with ice. Add all ingredients together. Stir, strain into a cocktail glass with one ice cube and garnish with fennel tops.


Nose Tweaker


57ml Hendrick’s Gin

8 McIntosh apples

1tsp ascorbic acid

28.5ml egg whites

14ml Matcha vinegar

7ml simple syrup

Pinch of Maldon salt

200g white sugar

12 nasturtium flowers



Core apples and juice with ascorbic acid and a pinch of Maldon salt. Whisk white sugar, nasturtium flowers and Matcha vinegar. Rest for 1 hour then strain. Add all components and remaining ingredients to a shaker. Shake without ice, shake hard with cubed ice and double strain into a chilled coupette. Garnish with a nasturtium leaf.


Smashed Pea Smash


1 tbsp pea shoots

12 mint leaves

57ml Ketel One Vodka

28ml lemon juice

20ml simple syrup

Charred lettuce, to garnish



Take a leaf of ‘Freckles’ lettuce and char using a blowtorch. Set aside as garnish. Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake hard with cubed ice and double strain over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with charred lettuce.