Home » London Book Review - Non Fiction » Book Review : Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends by Ryan Chetiyawardana ( Frances Lincoln Limited )

Book Review : Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends by Ryan Chetiyawardana ( Frances Lincoln Limited )


Over the last decade, London has undergone a ‘cocktail’ revolution. The cocktail bar scene has shed off its image of being mostly the domain of five-star hotel bars to an incredible diversity of bars and drinks. Although the upmarket hotel bars still exist, modern interpretations of the speakeasy and other types of cocktail bars have proliferated all over the capital. It is not just bars that have changed, the creation and experimentation with the drinks themselves have led to London to be considered one of the best cocktail cities in the world.

One of the people behind this transformation is Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan, the man behind award-winning London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan) who has written a book entitled Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan & Friends which seeks to take the ‘cocktail’ beyond the bars and into the home. After winning a series of awards around the world for his inventive cocktail menus, Mr Lyan uses his considerable talents to create a book that will enable us all to find our inner ‘mixologist’.

The author states Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan & Friends is about the times when we get together friends and family and believes cocktails can make these times even more memorable. It is the social aspect that features throughout the book with sections with recommendations for different moods and occasions including Morning Buzz, Market Fresh, Summer Social Sips, Alfresco Days, Pre – Dinner, Friday Nights, Rambles, Fireside Serves, Winter Feasting and a recipe for The Perfect G & T.

However before we begin to reach for our cocktails shakers, the book offers some valuable advice on Equipment, Ingredients, Techniques and Syrups & Bitters. Mr Lyan suggests that you do not need expensive equipment but you do need practical pieces to make amazing drinks. An all metal two piece shaker is invaluable for mixing drinks but you can use a normal glass jug for a mixing glass. Equivalents for other pieces of equipment can be found around most kitchens, great expense spent on fancy glasses is also considered unnecessary. One area it is not advisable to scrimp is ingredients, the author suggests that you should always use the best ingredients you can afford.

Once you have your equipment and ingredients it is time to learn some techniques such as shaking, stirring, straining, muddling and building. To give your cocktail, a unique homemade taste, mix your own syrups and bitters for a freshness you can’t buy in the shops.

If you have followed the book so far, it is now time to create impressive drinks for any social gathering. Over 60 cocktails recipes are provided ranging from reimagined classics like Buck’s Fizz, Bellini and Mint Julep to modern creations like Deadly Nightshade, British 45 and Bloody Earnest. Each recipe is presented in a easy to understand format with a few options for variations to suit your particular taste.

This entertaining and informative book with a large number of attractive illustrations and photographs seeks to demystify the process of cocktail making indicating we do not have to be modern alchemists to make great cocktails. In many ways the book succeeds in bringing cocktails into the 21st century with ideas to incorporate the drinking of cocktails into modern lifestyles both in and outside the home.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like further information or buy a copy of the book, visit the Publishers website here

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