London-based bar Lyaness has unveiled its new menu, Ancestral Cookbook, which features five new core ingredients created by the team.
For the new menu, the award-winning team has explored the natural, cultural and social effects of human evolution on ingredients and food, while looking at new interpretations and concepts.
The menu, which launches on 16 November, moves on from the unifying theme of the bar’s British Cookbook to search through the many routes that humans have chosen to explore – and how food has shaped human survival and cultural outlooks.
The drinks list has been split into five themes that are said to be ‘universal to our ancestral history’.
The themes are: Nature vs Nurture, which explores the relationship between these two forces; Circularity, and the human habit of repetition; Taught History, which examines the passing on of lessons and knowledge to the next generation, while also exploring the distortion that differing points of view can create; Ceremony, and the results of the unusual and joyous ways humans connect; and Extreme Conditions, exploring the often incredible impact these can have on behaviour and evolution.
The 15-serve menu will once again focus on core ingredients exclusively created by the whole team using proprietary processes and techniques.
The five unique core ingredients comprise: Everything Vinegar, Tree Caramel, Thunder Mushroom, Death Bitters, and B + B.
Using elements from the full harvest from Growing Underground’s Zero Carbon Farms in Clapham, Lyaness has created a vinegar that ‘pokes fun’ at the notion of picky eating.
Using a traditional base of local apple juice, and every single plant grown by the acclaimed urban farm, the team has fermented the mixture into a complex vinegar.
The ingredient can be found in drinks such as the CC Mizuwari, found in the Taught History section of the menu, which is mixed with Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment, Glasshouse whisky, melon, Capreolus pear and White Lyan water.
This core ingredient is designed to challenge the flavours that can be extracted from wood beyond the more obvious toasted notes found in aged spirits.
To make this ingredient, Braai wood – a specially harvested and dried invasive wood – is subjected to cycles of extreme heat, cold and pressure to manipulate the material and extract a range of unexpected flavours.
It offers a fruit-forward and aromatic profile, and is used in the creation of The Goldblum Whiptail, a short Ki No Bi and Beefeater London Dry gin-based cocktail made with burnt pea pods, lime and lime blossom. This cocktail is found in the Nature vs Nurture section of the menu.
The Lyaness team has explored the effect that nitrogen and electricity have on the growth and oxidisation of ingredients in the curation of Thunder Mushroom.
The ingredient is a blend of grains and legumes that have been inoculated with koji spores, before being fermented, fortified and finally electrocuted to oxidise the alcohol and harmonise the complex mix. The end result is close to a savoury chocolate.
This ingredient has been used to make the vermouth that forms the base of the Elephant Martini, created under the theme of Taught History. It is stirred down with Grey Goose vodka, Hepple gin and hyraceum.
The team turned their focus away from fresh ingredients in the making of these core bitters, instead turning to lemon leaves that are ‘at the point of death’ while avoiding the stages of decay.
By submerging a lemon tree into liquid nitrogen to instantly freezing it, the team have been able to capture a range of flavours and components that have been turned into this range of bitters.
Bright and lively, Death Bitters is used perfectly in the punchy Tornado Sazerac, where it meets struck match grenadine, oud wood, Cognac, and The Balvenie. This cocktail is another Nature vs Nurture creation.
Texture, richness and silky fattiness are typically challenging components to balance in cocktails, but Lyaness has worked to balance texture, richness and silky fattiness in the making of its final core ingredient, B + B, by using the ‘humble’ combination of grain and fat typically found in dishes from around the world.
Full-bodied and green with surprising fruitiness and texture, this ingredient is created using toasted grains that are then blitzed and infused into alcohol. It is combined with elements such as pea amazake and an array of cordials to create the final iteration of B+B.
Found under the Extreme Conditions theme, the Comma Chameleon utilises this ingredient alongside Lakes and Starward whiskies, Kanpai sake liqueur, goat milk and WNWN float.
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Author: Georgie Collins