London has everything; wonderful cocktails bar, stores, retail, restaurants; anything you feel like at any given time, odds are London can give you what you want.
In terms of whisky, the city comes through with countless wonderful whisky bars and bottle shops where one can purchase their favourite dram. Most recently, for the lovers of whisky, and for the fans of AMC’s hit series Mad Men (or those with a love of Manhattan in the 60s) the city has once again delivered.
Swift is London’s latest whisky and cocktail bar, spread out over two stories. In the main room, guests can enjoy pre-dinner drinks and light plates in stylish, 1960s-themed surroundings. Anyone bold enough to venture downstairs will be taken aback by a vast amount of whisky bottles from all over the world. Two-hundred and forty to be exact.
Like any good whisky bar, the majority of the whisky menu consists of Scotch, with over half the bottles hailing from bonny Scotland.
The bar is the creation of four passionate whisky lovers, including Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson, who have been in the London bar scene for years. Hiddleston previously worked at the Dead Rabbit bar, which was recently won first place in the World’s 50 Best Bars list.
‘There are a lot of themed bars launching and a huge renaissance for other kinds of whiskies, like Irish and Japanese,’ Hiddleston explains. ‘People are almost forgetting about Scotch to an extent and we want people to come up and try something they’ve maybe never had before, and remember Scotch is still there and still very vibrant.’
The team at Swift have also taken an interesting approach to categorizing their whiskies, having left the distillation regions out of the process.
‘There’s such a variety between regions now that it doesn’t really apply any more to say, just because it’s from Campbeltown or the Highlands, it should taste a certain way,’ Hiddleston said. ‘So we’ve listed the whiskies alphabetically instead.’
The Downstairs at Swift menu also features over twenty delicious, strong cocktails with half featuring whisky as the base spirit. The staff are knowledgeable and attentive, ready to help customers find the drink they are looking for.
Their Snowstorm cocktail features Mozart dry chocolate, Ardbeg 10 year-old, Menthe Pastille, almond orgeat, lemon, and egg white. I mean, who isn’t booking their ticket to London after reading that?
Let’s hope this movement continues, and that many more passionate fans attempt to bring whisky into the spotlight and help people discover its beauty.