I found myself at Swift's original Old Compton Street home the day before Bojo announced all bars and restaurants must close; nursing their famous Irish coffee, licking away the inevitable cream and nutmeg moustache, little did I know that it was going to be my last proper cocktail for, well, EVER.
With lockdown measures eased and the news that they opened a brand new outpost in Shoreditch, it’s only natural that I headed down to reunite with their world-class libations.
If you’ve been to Swift Soho (which I highly recommend you do), the interiors at Shoreditch are sure to give you some déjà vu. Signature white panels that pin the bar as the centerpiece, polished mirrored walls and art deco fixtures swim to the forefront to create a mini version of the original.
The cocktail menu however, is far from a replica, listing brand new libations exclusive to its location. The Woodstock (£13) is a heady combination of François Voyer cognac, Green Spot whiskey, Cocchi Americano and passionfruit; dancing on a razor-thin wire between sharp and sweet. Whitewashing your taste buds with deep flavours reminiscent of classic cocktails, it was impressive enough to be ordered again by my plus one an hour into our reservation. The Carmen (£11) was sold to us as 'all the best things about a taco, but in a margarita'. I love tacos and I bloody love margaritas, so there’s no need to second guess what happened next. Dusted with a sandstorm of chilli, lime and salt around the rim of the glass, the toasted blue corn-infused Olmeca Altos plata tequila and lime sherbet mix came bobbing with mini shards of ice, stinging the roof of my mouth with each salt-studded sip.
Excellent cocktails aside, Swift has extended its offering beyond drinks with a section of all-day small plates and they're open for coffee each day from 10am. Their three cheese toastie (£9) was glued shut with an impressive amount of dairy but the waffles are clearly the highlight. Available with four different toppings, we tried the smoked salmon option (£11). Thin, silky slices of sfish were draped across two pillow-light golden waffles, sparsely decorated with fresh dill and bright purple radish discs. Plunged in a generous pool of buttermilk sauce, which comes served on the side, this brunch-centric dish is a strong excuse to make a trip east.
The DesignMyNight Digest
I visited Swift during the August heatwave so their Irish Coffee was sadly not destined to make a debut on my upper lip this time around but the cocktails I did order were beautifully balanced and true to Swift’s core. Will I be using the excuse of ‘let’s go for brunch’ to disguise my unhealthy obsession with their cocktails? I'm only kidding myself if I say no.
I also haven’t touched on their safety measures but I can assure you the team went above and beyond throughout. All staff members wore face masks, handles and surfaces were constantly wiped down with anti-bacterial spray and QR codes meant you could load the menu on your phone and log your information for the government’s Trace and Test programme.
Looking for more world-class cocktails in London? Check out our guide here.