In October, Ryan Chetiyawardana set the industry alight with the news of Dandelyan’s pending closure. Now the World’s Best Bar is having one final hurrah with a new cocktail menu, the last to launch before it shuts its doors at the end of the year.
Dandelyan has developed a third chapter of its Modern Life of Plants concept as its concluding menu. Like the two chapters before it, the new instalment’s drinks embrace a message of sustainability and focus on three main ingredients. The menu’s holy trinity is mint, hops and grapes, with four cocktails – including a non-alcoholic offering – developed for each.
The bar chose these ingredients because they represent a point of difference from the seasonal, foraged approach of the menus that came before The Modern Life of Plants. Mint, hops and grapes are crops that are all grown on a large scale for a demanding food system. By using these ingredients, Dandelyan’s team wanted to demonstrate that sustainability en masse doesn’t mean the sacrifice of flavour.
'We chose mint, hops and grapes because they relate to three ingredients you can find in just about any bar,' commented Will Meredith, senior bartender at Dandelyan. 'The whole conversation for the menu is around mass markets for everyday use, so we thought linking the menu categories to this premise made sense. This doesn't mean that the drinks necessarily include these ingredients, but the stories we draw from reference these ingredients in mass industry.'
Although the team is looking at ingredients cultivated on a large scale, the cocktails still bear the Dandelyan’s signature esoteric touch. The grape section contains Space Fix, which marries Courvoisier VSOP, yellow pepper sherry and passionfruit sparkling wine. Meanwhile, the hops section contains the Re-Supply Sour, a heady mix of Empirical Spirits Koji Hooch, Compass Box Oak Cross, raspberry and one particularly curious element the team calls 'nutrient-enriched cardboard'.
'We were wondering which avenue to go down with the Re-Supply Sour, because many people out there have done great things in regards to reusing waste or repurposing products,' said Meredith. 'We thought we would try and take it further by using something that already has nutrients, but was never intended to be eaten: cardboard.
'While scrolling through Armageddon documents about the world ending due to food shortages [we read] an article about stuff in your house that could be eaten, should you run out of food. As it turns out, cardboard contains a load of cellulose, and we get loads of it coming through the door every week.'
So how does the team transform cardboard into a cocktail ingredient?
'We break it down by boiling it at 90°C for an extended period, along with lemongrass, chamomile, sugar, and water,' explained Meredith. 'All the bits are then strained out, leaving us with a syrup that contains the cardboard, as well as the nutrients from the added ingredients in a form that's a bit tastier than eating cardboard!'
Beyond drinks infused with everyone's favourite packaging material, the menu will also contain a section of classics comprised of the bartenders’ top pics from throughout the venue’s four years.
Dandelyan’s final menu is available now.