Of all the cocktails in all the bars around the UK, there can be only one Cocktail of the Year (sponsored by Lanique). For 2023 our Class Bar Awards panel said it was the Swift Irish Coffee.
So part of the London bar scene furniture it is, the Swift Irish Coffee is almost a classic in itself, though, as its creator Bobby Hiddleston points out, this isn’t a huge overhaul of the original recipe.
There remain the fundamentals – Irish whiskey, coffee and cream – but it is in the quality and balance of these ingredients, and the temperature at which they are served, that this update triumphs.
Hiddleston uses his own coffee blend made by Send, which is stored in a sous vide, so the temperature is maintained but the coffee is not burned.
It’s built in a glass with the coffee sweetened with demerara sugar and fortified by the harmonising Jameson Caskmates Stout edition.The double cream – cold and hand-whipped – enters via a bar spoon and is embellished with nutmeg.
As Hiddleston says: “The secret to the perfect Irish Coffee is to keep it sweet but not too sweet, hot but not too hot, strong but not too strong, and you have to make the cream silky and luxurious.”
Finalists: Coriander Seed Gimlet, Seed Library; Buck Fast, Die Young, Lab 22; Kazimir, A Bar with Shapes for a Name