Don Ransinghe: Smoke & Bitters (Hiriketiya)

Don Ransinghe is the founder of Smoke & Bitters in Hiriketiya. He makes us two cocktails, one with Gin and Tea Infusion and the second with Whisky and Falernum.

Don introduce yourself
My name is Don Ranasinghe, my heritage is Sri Lankan but I was born in London and spent the majority of my life there. My start in the industry was as a Bar Back at the age of 18 at an iconic London venue called KOKO, close to 2000 capacity with 8 bars it’s in this venue where I worked for 10 years progressing from Bar back to venue manager. My love for hospitality and people, both consumers and colleagues, were formed within this space. The dream of one day returning home to Sri Lanka and opening up a bar by the beach was something that was never far from my thoughts tho and in 2020 Smoke & Bitters was born owned by myself and my best friend and business partner it’s a smokehouse & cocktail bar overlooking the Indian Ocean.

The classic you want to show us
Silvertip White Negroni
20ml of Gin infused with Cardamon
30ml of Silvertip Tea Vermouth
20ml of Ceylon Olive Bitters

The bar you dream of
It’s a bar in space, on a type of asteroid that is travelling at a very fast pace through galaxies, all alien races are welcome and something is served up for everyone. As you enter you are scanned and the AI immediately identifies your ethnicity, planet, traditions, drinking culture and sense of humour so when you are served it is personalised to your planet and its customs.

What do you do in your time off
Home time is the one! With most of my life spent in pursuit of the hospitality dream, just cooking a meal and watching a movie at home is my favourite thing to do on days off.

The spirit you like the most
This one is so tough as it’s constantly changing at different points in your life, but right now it is Sri Lankan arrack, a spirit distilled from toddy the sap of the coconut flower that keeps my tastebuds and curiosity flowing.

What makes a good cocktail
A good cocktail to me is the delivery, it’s a story from its creator to its consumer. If this message is received as intended then spot on!

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Ceylon Cinamon, I use this as an oil, bitters, tincture, syrups and the wood for smoking

The signature cocktail you want to show us
50ml of Scotch Whisky
15ml of Jungle Honey
15ml of Falernum
17.5 of Lemon juice
1 drop of Hellfire Bitters

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Mumbai in India was a massive inspiration, from the Bombay canteen to Ekka to Masque would love to see some interviews from those guys.

Thank you Nomad Barshow for making it happens

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