October 6, 2015

Good Things to Drink by Mr Lyan

By In Cocktails, Drink Books, Reviews
Yesterday I went to Waitrose and purchased two fine-looking aubergines. One I sliced and made a batch of salty-sweet aubergine chips with. The other was roasted in the oven then blitzed in my blender with a little sugar and some water to make a puree. Some of this puree, once strained from the solids, went into a cocktail. Yep, an aubergine flavoured cocktail. It was rather tasty. So I made another.

The recipe for the cocktail – Deadly Nightshade – and specifics on how to make the aubergine chips, which are used as a garnish, appear in a rather interesting book, Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends. A lot of the recipes use seasonal produce; the book is arranged by the calendar or the time. You have Summer Social Sips with kilner jars of sharing punches and infusions, Winter Feasting with warming and soul-heartening drinks and those designed for pre-dinner or Friday nights. There are many cocktails I’m looking forward to trying, but the use of aubergine in a drink had never occurred to me prior to flicking through the pages, hence a try out.

aubergine ready for roasting

“Aubergine in a cocktail? Why not? Lots of vegetables take on an intense sweetness when coked, roasted or dried, so play around with some of the more esoteric ones – as long as its edible it can be made into a drink. I once created a similar drink with roasted cauliflower and a touch of chocolate and it was delicious.”

While indulging myself in a cocktail-manic phase (witness my Instagram account dedicated to cocktails: The Cocktail Collection) I’ve looked at many a cocktail book. Style over substance seems to be the order of the day. But Good Things To Drink has many an inspiring ‘must try that one!’ cocktail. Profusely illustrated with many photos of young trendy people ‘hanging out’ amongst the style items of now (think hand cranked coffee bean grinder, reclaimed tables, Brasso tins and wooden pencils).

Interestingly the humble Gin and Tonic receives a whole chapter of its own with recipes for a House G&T, Tiki G&T (watermelon), Fancy G&T (grapefruit and Angostura), Jolly Green Tonic (herbal foam) and Tea and G.

Deadly Nightshade Cocktail from Good Things to Drink by Mr Lyan

The Deadly Nightshade cocktail makes use of egg white; my first attempt looked a little lacklustre after pouring with just a thin layer of froth, that the egg white provides. A vigorous shake, mind the pressure in the cocktail shaker!, and a double strain as instructed but it was only after taking the photo I realised most of the foam was left behind in the shaker. That and the glass used was a wide bowl, so perhaps unsuited for this particular cocktail.

Another attempt was required. Take 40ml golden rum, 20ml Lillet Blanc, 25ml fresh lemon juice, 25ml sugar syrup (recipe says Demerara but I used ordinary), 25ml egg white and 25ml of the aubergine puree and shake without ice. Add plenty of ice and reshake, hard. Pour and strain.

Deadly Nightshade Cocktail from Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends

Ryan Chetiyawardana (the chap behind London Bars White Lyan and Dandelyan) produces his own range of cocktail mixes. The Mr Lyan Diamond Rickey (“a blend of my own gin with falernum – a spiced almond and lime liqueur -and distilled fresh grapefruit and lime) makes an appearance in a British 45. Just the description of the Diamond Ricky makes me want to try it! while the Mr Lyan Rainy Day Spritz (combining raspberry eau de vie, crisp vermouth and bitter rhubarb liqueur) makes it into dry white wine for another cocktail.

Incidentally both these two MR Lyan mixes and others in the range are available from The Master of Malt. One of which is more than likely to be added to my next order.

Cocktails aren’t just for fancy nights out and snobby home mixologists. In Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends, Mr Lyan shows you how 60 innovative and exciting cocktails can be part of your everyday life. Easy to make and beautifully photographed, the cocktails cover every mood and occasion, from sunny day drinks and winter warmers to Friday night cocktails and morning revivers. Mr Lyan perfects classics such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan, and experiments with new intriguing combinations and ingredients.

In addition to buying two aubergines from Waitrose yesterday I also picked up a fine looking pineapple. The recipe for Pineapple Rum with Ginger Beer requires a super ripe pineapple. At the moment mine doesnt smell of anything, least of all pineapple and neither do the leaves pull out. I am just going to have to wait. Good Things to Drink by Mr Lyan is available for £20.

Deadly Nightshade Cocktail

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2 Comments
  1. Interesting… vegetable in cocktail – food to drink… R

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