You may be surprised to learn that one of the best bars in the world only stocks ready-to-drink cocktails. Needless to say, they’re different to the ready-to-drink cocktails you may already be familiar with. White Lyan, in London’s East End, is the first bar in the world to use no perishables at all: no ice, no citrus and no fresh fruit. All its cocktails are bottled and stocked in fridges behind the bar.
As part of World Class Cocktail Week, Ryan Chetiyawardana, World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2009, will set up White Lyan in the Church of Bang Bang Boogaloo at Thousand £ Bend, so Melburnians can experience his inventive approach to cocktails.
Many of us think of ice and citrus when we picture our favourite cocktails, so why does Chetiyawardana exclude them? “It’s partly control,” he says. “A lot of the time, bars use these (often poor quality) ingredients in a manner that is standardised due to history, conformity or formulae, without focusing on whether it’s the best thing to do.
“By removing variables we can ensure the drink is exactly what we want,” he says. “We can do it quickly and consistently, so we can spend more time looking after our guests.”
Hospitality is a big part of what makes White Lyan one of the best in the world. Chetiyawardana says he puts customers first, rather than drinks. In Melbourne, Chetiyawardana and team member Zoe van der Grinten will bring their consistently considerate approach to hosting guests, but they will also “bring a service that is specific to the space”. With this in mind, it will be fascinating to see what they make of the CBD factory-turned-chapel that will be their Melbourne home.
They will also tailor the drinks on offer for the pop-up, which will include bespoke serves such as a Ketel One vodka Bay Cosmo Fizz and a Tanqueray gin Layered Negroni.
Chetiyawardana wants Melburnians who come to the White Lyan pop-up during World Class Cocktail Week to “let go of any pre-conceptions, and relax”. That shouldn’t be hard in the hands of one of the most talented and creative bartenders in the world. We say that knowing one of the cocktails at White Lyan in London uses ambergris, an intestinal secretion from a sperm whale.
We’re up for anything.
Church of Bang Bang Boogaloo at Thousand £ Bend
361 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
This article is presented in partnership with World Class.