There was wonderment in Cocktail World when Ryan Chetiyawardana – late of the City’s Worship Street Whistling Shop and Bramble, Edinburgh – launched his first bar with fellow ex-Brambler, Iain Griffiths. Following an almost monastic black-and-white lo-fi makeover, what was a Hoxton boozer has become a temple of modern mixology dedicated to small-batch bottled drinks, using scientifically tweaked spirits to achieve the desired base for cocktails that are devoid of ice or lemon. Pre-mixed formulations are kept in strictly regulated chill cabinets, from hi-balls, gin shrubs and siphons of white Guinness (Mr Lyan whisky, coconut, almond and ash) to a potent Moby Dick sazerac, so named because it involves that esoteric whale secretion ambergris. The appeal of the latter’s absinthe-infused rice paper may pale as it turns claggy, but such arcana allows classicists and blue-sky drinkers to argue the toss all night long.
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