What does a bar do after being named the best in the world? Scrap all its award-winning cocktails and create a brand-new menu, of course. After taking home the World's Best Bar gong at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards this summer, Lyaness - the South Bank bar from Ryan "Mr Lyan" Chetiyawardana - is rolling out a lush new list of high-concept cocktails on 16 November.
This latest menu, called the Ancestral Cookbook, builds on the cookbook theme of last year's menu launch (the British Cookbook menu was also a total banger, FYI). This time around, the drinks are all about the link between food and culture, and how what we eat shapes us through generations. Yeah, it's kinda deep - think of it as alcohol with a side of academia. Led by head bartender Louis Macpherson, the Lyaness team spent a lot of time contemplating the natural, cultural and social effects of human development on food to dream up the menu's five themes: nature versus nurture, circularity, taught history, ceremony and extreme conditions. Each one serves as the backdrop for the list's 15 cocktails, so get ready to think while you drink, baby.
Still, ya don't have to be a Birkenstock-clad liberal arts student to get down with these drinks. In true Lyaness style, the Ancestral Cookbook features five unique house-made ingredients created in weird and wonderful ways that translate to wicked flavours. (Our fave ingredient from last year's menu, blood curaçao, involved re-hydrating dried pig's blood and mixing it with spices, sugar and balsamic vinegar, nbd.) Check out the ingredients gracing this year's list...
Grains + fat = total deliciousness (thinking of you, 2am Chinatown duck on rice). To make this bangin' ingredient, the team blitz toasted grains and infuse them in alcohol, then combine the mixture with a bunch of equally off-the-wall elements (pea amazake, anyone?) for a rich, fatty flavour explosion.
Try it in... The Shaky Fist Margarita, with Patrón Silver, red pill cordial, B + B curaçao and "green lemon".
Talk about a shocking ingredient. This blend of grains and legumes is inoculated with koji spores (the fungus used to make sake), fermented and fortified - and then electrocuted. The electric jolt oxidises the alcohol and rounds out the flavour (plus it's really f*cking cool and tastes like savoury chocolate).
Try it in... The Hart Old Fashioned, with thunder mushroom, bread bitters, Rare Tea Co tea, Stauning Smoke and Craigellachie.
If you're partial to decent dram, you know that ageing spirits in wood can lend mega-complex notes to booze. Naturally, the Lyaness team had to take the powers of wood to the next level - they manipulated African Braai wood by subjecting it to extreme heat, cold and pressure to bring out some unexpected bold flavours that recall a tea.
Try it in... The Wolf-y Bam Sour, with whisky, antler, rowanberry, bugs (yes, BUGS) and tree caramel (duh).
Love to douse your fish and chips in a healthy amount of Sarson's? You're gonna get down with this one. The team have taken a base of local apple juice and every single plant grown by Clapham-based urban farm Growing Underground to craft a vinegar that packs a complex punch.
Try it in... The Thirdspace Shandy, with everything vinegar, Fierfield Birch, hopped Porter's Orchard Gin, "Champagne" syrup and pink lemon soda.
No, it's not the name of a heavy metal band. With death bitters, Lyaness aims to capture the flavour of lemon leaves right at the point of death: the team use liquid nitrogen to freeze a lemon tree, then harness all that bright flavour in their bitters recipe.
Try it in... The Tornado Sazerac, with death bitters, struck-match grenadine, oud wood, Cognac and The Balvenie whisky.