Time for tea: Four great cocktails by the world's best bartender
The Long Island Ice Tea trend is long gone but herbal infusions are having a heyday. This time round, it's all about flavour
Mr Lyan is often described as the best bartender in the world – he's certainly won enough awards to suggest that's true. The legendary shaker, also known as Ryan Chetiyawardana, is the man behind Dandelyan at Mondrian London and the White Lyan in the capital's Hoxton, which is famous for its incredible concoctions and for using no ice, no perishables and no branded drinks.
Fittingly for a man who has never approached cocktails in a conventional way, Mr Lyan has now developed four recipes with Wedgwood, marking the china and glassware-maker's new Tea Garden collection. It includes new designs inspired by patterns of flora and fauna found in the company's archives, each accompanied by a unique blend of Wedgwood tea.
The launch of the new cocktails is well timed for the end of summer, featuring as they do fruit and spices and refreshing but warm flavours. The Raspberry Punch is crafted from raspberry tea, cream gin, lemon, rhubarb and sparkling white wine, while the Bramble Broth sees blackberry-and-apple tea shaken with crushed blackberries, apple juice, mint and elderflower cordial. For the Lemongrass Sling, Mr Lyan has combined lemongrass-and-ginger tea with white vermouth, apple juice, orange bitters and soda, and for the Garden M, Moroccan mint tea with Seedlip Garden 108 (a non-alcoholic botanical "spirit"), agave and lemon tonic.
As tea's flavour can range from subtle to strong and contains no sugar, it's remarkably well suited to cocktails made either with or without alcohol. So it's no surprise Chetiyawardana isn't the only mixologist using it in drinks. In fact, the tea-cocktail trend has been around for a while and is still going strong at London's best bars.
Try the English Tea Punch at the Corinthia's striking Bassoon Bar – it's created from gin, white vermouth infused with lavender and fennel seeds, mint, elderflower and jasmine tea. Or head for the Worship Street Whistling Shop – a long-time leader of the pack when it comes to mixology, which has the Camelia Spritz on its current menu, a mixture of gin, celery, cold-brew green tea, kaffir-fruit acid and kombu sake.
At 69 Colebrooke Row, Tony Conigliaro's Islington stalwart, they infuse barrel-proof rum with rooibos tea and combine it with lapsang syrup, then smoke it with something they ominously call "voodoo incense" to create the Santeria.
Meanwhile, at one of Manchester's finest bars, Simon Rogan's Mr Cooper's House and Garden, the resident mixologists have crafted A Place To Hang His Cape – a mixture of port, matcha tea, ginger and coconut water – which sounds like it shouldn't work but is, in fact, everyone's cup of tea.