The week of BCB is usually filled with guest shifts that are or almost impromptu, and there is rarely any announcement for the planned ones.
I don’t usually drink coffee as a daily booster, nor as I am a serious aficionado, but I can sip Irish coffee at any hour. I actually almost decided to skip this because of the downpour since daybreak. However, knowing that Swift comes as a café with only coffee cocktails and fresh pastries, supposedly as a post-BCB hair of the dog afternoon shift. Which I have never been a shift like this, I know I shouldn’t miss it.
I arrived on Pouring Ribbons minutes before 1 pm, quite damp but ready to swig and snack. I then got to know the two bartenders representing Swift, Matt Millard, and Connor Bloomfield.
The tranquil three hours went by rather fast with people dropping by or stayed until the sunny end of the shift. At first, I only planned to have one or two drinks, which turns into three, then yield to curiosity and drank all five while trying to accompany Westville pastries with each of them. Here are my notes by the order on the menu, I wanted to write it as short and swiftly as possible though.
The one that can be felt of coffee the most than the other four. This Espresso Martini has light and puffy foam with the slightly sweet and icy liquid that gives a rush lasting dark chocolate notes.
The appearance can quickly pass as generic old fashioned with its light caramel color in a rock glass and orange peel. However it’s double Grey Goose, one vanilla and another 4:1 coconut oil fat washed, the latter on its own was so cleansing with a robust aroma and can be very enjoyable as shots.
It’s smell sweet of all parts coming together even after the sip. Yet, it does not leave you with a sweet mouth. Slightly stiff but its coconut and vanilla with a tip of orange will simply remind you of French Vanilla Macchiato. In this case, to go with the name of espresso with a spot of milk, I see the ice to act the same way as milk.
The bubbly pink copper has you smell the sweet and fruitiness as its placed in front of you. All have been clarified through coffee filter twice. Using light cold brew of 7:1 ratio grind coffee to water that’s been steeped 13-17 hour, heavy cream, Grey Goose La Poire, Rose petal tea that was turned into cordial before mixing in, and fresh lemon juice. Topped with Prosecco back in London, they opt for Victorine De Chastenay Crémant De Bourgogne Brut instead. Which I’d prefer this over sharp acidity with bigger and more poignant bubbles.
Only a whiff of coffee and very soft mouthfeel. Followed by a very uplifting at midway, as if you are biting into roasted juicy pear and apricot, but liquid coffee comes out instead. It’s worth noting how the team plays with the acidity of fruit that highlights coffee than overpower it. It’s so light the same way you love how all the milk smoothes up the whole cup.
Shaken then topped with a mountain of marble ice and drizzling of liqueur, fresh mint, and grated nutmeg. Doesn’t this remind you of old fashioned milkshake and soda parlor? Barely brown but gives fresh mint and mild sweet burnt smell from the top. It lessens down as it fuses with pacifying creamy body and a friendly pinch of Absinthe at the very end.
Pretty golden honey color in a coup where all the ingredients almost evenly cut each other, Similar to the namesake which non-textured milk is used to cut/dilute the coffee. Overall, each element was showing off its little edges like the dry toasted aroma of cascara, spice, and tartness from bitters, or dry floral and fruitiness from the vermouth.
What makes this menu engaging and makes you want to go through all. Is how they don’t use coffee as the main mixture. But how they started from espresso martini and look into other coffee drinks to create cocktails with notes and expressive flavors that we are familiar with. Despite the temperature, mouthfeel, absence of dairy in most of them, and some other elements.
I do enjoy all, but if I have to pick a few, it would be Macchiato and Latte. Ok, Frappe, too. Because it has Absinthe and I wish I can have this as a milkshake or with cookies before bed.
This menu they created is also featured as specials at Swift in London for one week long, with fresh pastries, too. For the shift, all they used coffee from The Roost right across the bar. Whereas back home, its sourced from Algerian Coffee Stores, only two blocks from Swift.
All five does make me want to occasionally grab these drinks, maybe in a greek cup, with pastries or breakfast sandwich.
Anyone who’s in or will be in London, you’ve got until Sunday!
Address: 12 Old Compton St, Soho, London
Opening: Mon-Sat 15:00 – 00:00. Sun 15:00 – 22:30