I always start to get a bit more creative on the cocktail front around Christmas, for one reason or another, and 2017 was no different. I’ve built up a pretty decent cocktail book selection and I thought it’s time I shared a few of my trusted resources that were put to use recently. For this post, I’m turning to “Good Things To Drink with Mr.Lyan & Friends”. It’s a charming book from award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr.Lyan) that contains 60 odd exciting cocktails to create and experiment with at home, perfect for sharing with friends and family.
I particularly like his section on infusions, packed with clever ideas for batch making impressive infused spirits in advance. One of my favourites is the Elderflower & Chocolate Scotch with Soda which I’ve now used a few times. It’s super easy but seriously effective. First, gently head 15 g cacao nibs in a frying pan for a few minutes. Next, add them to a large jar along with a bottle of scotch and 100 ml of elderflower liqueur (or cordial). Leave it to infuse for a few hours (or up to a day), and then strain it through a sieve and store in the fridge. To serve, pour 50 ml of the infusion into a tall glass over ice, top with soda, and garnish with mint if you fancy! I’m all about the highballs at the moment, especially whisky sodas, and this is a wonderful twist on a simple serve. If you want even more of a chocolate hit, I’m a sucker for the Mozart chocolate bitters.
Next up is a cocktail that I’ve only ever put together at breakfast, and it’s not a Bloody Mary. It’s Mr.Lyan’s Reimagined Buck’s Fizz. I’ve never been the biggest fan of champagne, prosecco and co. but I don’t like to feel left out. So when a bottle goes in the fridge on Christmas morning, I start working on Ryan’s recipe. All you need to do is squeeze the juice of a few clementines (or similar easy-peelers), a sweet orange, and about half a lemon into a jug. Then, salvage some peels from the remains of the fruit and twist them over the mixture to get the oils out. As Ryan says, this is where the magic happens which will give the drink a zesty kick. All you have to do then is pour 30 ml of the juice in to a flute and top with your chosen fizz. And for a final bit of tang, twist some clementine peel over the drink. Delicious, dangerously drinkable, and dead easy. Bye bye bubbles.
Last but not least, here’s a fantastic infusion which you can serve straight from a bottle to guests – Peach & Sage Bourbon. Start by carefully grilling three peaches to bring out some burnt flavours. Whilst you are doing that, stir 75 ml of honey in a jar with a bottle of bourbon until the honey is dissolved. Slice the charred peaches up and add them to the jar along with their stone kernels. Chuck in two stems of stage, and allow the whole thing to infuse for a several hours. Then strain through a sieve and store in the fridge. To serve, simply pour the infusion into a rocks glass filled with a large block of ice. Ryan suggests twisting and dropping in some orange peel, but I like to save the boozy peaches and pop a slice in to the drink along with some sage, since you’ve got some! Beware, you’ll accidentally drink a bottle of bourbon in one sitting. It’s a marvellous drink and it makes a great bottled cocktail gift, if you can bear to part ways with it.
Like what you see? Pick up “Good Things To Drink With Mr.Lyan & Friends” on Amazon here.
P.S. Ryan has recently released a new book called “Good Together : Drink & Feast with Mr.Lyan & Friends” with contributions from world-class chefs and bartenders – buy a copy here.
N.B. This was not a sponsored or paid for promotion – I just really like the book!