If you haven’t heard of Ryan Chetiyawardana (AKA Mr Lyan), you might wanna caught up. His skills are widely known in the bar and cocktail world and he’s won a ridiculous amount of accolades – including International Bartender of the Year. Ryan has also opened three ‘Mr Lyan’ bars in the US and UK that you’ve probs had a cocktail (or two) at while on vacay. There’s Henry in New York, White Lyan in London and Dandelyan, also in London.

Now that the weather is warmer, we’re ready to start drinking ALL the cocktails with our gal pals while soaking up the sunshine. But how do we be a little bit smarter about our drink choices? We spoke to Ryan to get his advice, plus what he thinks makes the perfect cocktail.

Cocktail wizard, Ryan Chetiyawardana

Cocktail wizard, Ryan Chetiyawardana

 Do you have a favourite drink yourself?
“It really depends on mood – hi-balls, spritzes, martinis, daiquiris and Manhattans all have a claim to the throne at different times and for different occasions!”

Are there any drink ingredients you believe don’t go together?
“Anything can work in a cocktail, but it’s all about balance. It’s hard to balance a very delicate ingredient with a very bold one as they can easy be overpowered – it just seems a shame and a waste. A very delicate rare orchid flavour with some heavy smoke and rich chocolate will completely drown out, or a subtle vodka with lots of sticky fruits just using the alcohol not the flavour. Keep it simple!”

What are your favourite ingredients to work with?
“I love challenging prejudices, so working with products that feel like they can’t be used in cocktails (rare spirits or unusual ingredients) or inverting expectations around a particular spirit or ingredient are very fun for me.”

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What elements do you believe make the perfect cocktail?
“Balance and attention to details! There should be a reason for every ingredient and they should come together to give an unexpected complexity that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

What are your tips for being wiser with mixing/making drinks and having more balanced consumption?
“Keep it simple, make sure you’re having fun and play up to the specific people, space and time!”

If you’re wanting healthy cocktails without the heavy sweetness, check out the Belvedere Spritz Collection, made of 100% natural and low-sugar cocktails here.