Head bartender at Lyaness in London, and before that a bartender at Dandelyan, Will Meredith knows a few things about making drinks. If you’re familiar with Lyaness, and the work of owner Ryan Chetiyawardana (a.k.a Mr Lyan), you will know that the drinks Will serves are more extraordinary than most.
Flavour and ingredients are front and centre of the menu at Lyaness. These elements paired with the innovative flair and experimental attitude of Will and his team ensures that every guest is given a world-class experience.
For this month's Six with Seedlip, we caught up with Will to get his thoughts on the non-alcoholic category and find out who he would most like to go for a cocktail with.
I. Where is your favourite nature spot?
I am definitely a sun kind of guy. Anything like a secluded beach or island is my idea of paradise. If I’m going for more of an immersive time, then nothing beats a forest or jungle. The amount of nature in such an enclosed environment is phenomenal.
II. Best decision of your career so far?
Simple. My best career decision so far was to move down to London to join what was then Dandelyan and is now Lyaness. The opportunity for growth was there and I was fortunate enough to progress to where I am today.
III. What is your favourite non-alcoholic [NA] cocktail on the Lyaness menu and why?
My favourite NA serve of the current menu is the Queenie Harvard. We set ourselves a challenge of converting a spirit-forward cocktail into a non-alcoholic serve. We managed to end up with something that possessed the body and complexity of a boozy drink, but without the booze. For that reason, I like that drink the most. It has opened many doors for us to dig in deeper.
IV. What excites you most about the NA category?
I think the speed at which the NA category has grown is what has been most exciting. I've not been around the scene for long, but in that time, I have been fortunate to witness the growth and development of No and Lo cocktails. People now have the opportunity to enjoy the experience of a bar without having to pigeon-hole themselves into a small section of a menu or spend all night drinking ginger ale.
V. How do you switch-off?
If I ever get a spare minute to forget about work, I normally use the opportunity to relax, catch up on a bit of exercise, and cook a nice dinner. I really enjoy having a group of people round to spend the day preparing food and eating together. There's something so simple about it, which helps me to unwind. I find it to be more and more important to be able to keep yourself in relatively decent nick outside of work, or else you end up in a repetitive cycle of work/sleep/work/sleep that can be hard to break.
VI. Who would you most like to go for a cocktail with?
Snoop Dogg or Dr. Dre. Enough Said.