Ryan Chetiyawardana first made a splash in the drinks world thanks to his many outstanding achievements in the service of the world-renowned Bramble in Edinburgh. A deeply committed bar professional, Ryan has bartended as long as he has been legally permitted, an admirable 10 years and counting. Winning several high profile competitions throughout his career, the highlight has been winning 2009 UK Bartender of the Year in the Diageo World Class competition.
Ryan has also won the Market Challenge section of the global competition, judged by the meticulous Ueno San of Bar High Five in Tokyo, placing him in the top 3 overall. He also placed 2nd globally after representing the UK at the 2012 Havana Club Grand Prix.
But what truly bulked up Ryan’s following was at The Worship Street Whistling Shop bar in East London in 2012, where he created arguably one of the most inventive cocktail menus in the world (nominated World’s Best Cocktail menu, Tales of the Cocktail 2012).
Today you will often find Ryan deep in thought behind his bar peering through his spectacles, experimenting with molecular and culinary mixology, a man devoted to his trade and his new drink and bar consultancy brand Mr Lyan.
Mr Lyan has taken on the tequila-heavy demands of The Rebel Dining Society’s Death by Burrito project, set up shop at the Hudson Hotel in NYC with a local state produce ingredient-led menu and is now tackling the mother of launches with their new concept at White Lyan which has received critical acclaim worldwide.
For his cocktail creations, Ryan famously doesn’t use ice, thus putting an end to watery drinks. Here is a selection of Ryan’s cocktails
Designed to be a light and refreshing drink with a big, aromatic nose and full of flavour in the mouth with a dry, effervescent finish. If making in advance to serve for a larger group make sure to only add the soda water at the time of serving.
Into a large, chilled wine glass add:
75ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
25ml Merlet Apricot Brandy
5 dashes Campari (or Aperol if wanting a lighter touch of bitterness)
2 drops Olive Brine
1 drop Vanilla Extract
Top with good quality sparkling or soda water (Approx. 100ml) and a twist of lemon over the top then discarded.
A whisky drink for all. Dilution in the form of brewed jasmine tea puts another layer of juicy floral notes on top of what Dewars 12 already has to show. Ideally this drink is served at room temperature so that, whether you’re sipping or slurping, it stays consistently tasty throughout or even better, leave some and come back to it next time for your own bottle-aged experiment.
Bring 500ml of water to the boil in a high-sided pot and then remove from heat. Immediately add 900g of white granulated sugar and gently stir till fully dissolved. Allow to cool, bottle and keep for up to one week.
Add one normal teaspoon of the best quality Jasmine Green Tea you can buy (we love Rare Tea Company so if you can find it, buy it!) to a tea cup. Boil the kettle and add 200ml of boiling water (sometimes best to measure this in the cup with cold water so you know where to pour to once boiled). Allow to brew for roughly 5 minutes, checking every so often and strain off tea before any bitter taste is present.
Into a heavy tumbler or whisky tasting glass add:
50ml Dewars 12
5ml Sugar Syrup
1 tsp. of cold jasmine tea
Swirl to combine flavours and sip
Hear No Evil
Shots don’t have to be that god-awful flavour that make your face contort and your head swell so bad in the morning you say silly things like “I’m never drinking again!”. So here we have one of White Lyan’s range of shots designed to do the job and taste good while it goes down. Word to the wise, these will be popular so best to just make a bottle (or two) worth and dispense as needed.
Makes approximately 25 shots.
375ml Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
350ml Disaronno Amaretto Liqueur
1 tsp. Angostura Bitters
Bottle then store and serve cold. Will keep for a few weeks if not drunken first.