Review by Lindsay Rendall
Ryan Chetiyawardan (aka Mr Lyan) is the man behind the award winning London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan. A connoisseur of cocktails experienced in the bar scene, he takes his cocktails to an almost scientific level using all sorts of high tech equipment and unusual ingredients. The aim of this book is to bring everyday cocktails to the many people who are put off by the thought of cocktails being complicated, requiring specialist equipment and ingredients (not to mention a fair bit of faffing about) and to show how easy it is to incorporate them into their gatherings at home, with friends and family. The style is easy, relaxed and laid back – drinks to share and have fun with. The recipes are all open to adaption to suit the maker's own tastes.
The book itself is stylishly photographed with stunning photographs of not just the drinks, but Mr Lyan’s friends kicking back and enjoying them, giving it a real ‘lifestyle’ feel. As well as the photographs, the book is spotted with Ryan’s own cartoon like illustrations which have a cute feel to them. Before launching into the recipes, the book starts with chapters on the equipment, ingredients and techniques needed to make the cocktails, followed by a section of recipes for syrups and bitters to use in the drinks.
When it comes to the cocktails themselves, Ryan presents not just the bare recipes but also the contexts in which he suggests they would be suited to. The book is split into chapters by occasion suggesting drinks for Brunches, Summer Socials, Alfresco Days, Rambles, Fireside Serves and Winter Feasting to mention just a few. The recipes are clear and easy to follow and while you will need to get together a few specialist ingredients, there are enough recipes to choose from to ensure you’ll be able to make a good selection without breaking the bank. The cocktails all look very appetising, though given it is Winter when I’m reviewing this it was the sections on Fireside Serves and Winter Feasting which really appealed to me. The Brandy Blazer, Hot Buttered Gin and Fireside Flip would be perfect for bonfire night and I’ll certainly be adding the Galle House Punch and the Brewed Brooklyn to my Christmas celebrations.
With Gin seemingly being the drink of the moment, Ryan rounds off the book with a whole chapter of gin and tonic recipes for the G&T enthusiasts. I’m not sure I’ll be going to the lengths of purchasing a fish tank pump and diffuser stone suggested for the Jolly Green Tonic recipe, but I’ll certainly be having a go at a few of the others.
All in all this is a very stylish book with great selection of deliciously tempting recipes which are sure to make any get-together go with a swing.
What to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends by Ryan Chetiyawardana
Published by Frances Lincoln