Hamish Dowie: Swift (London)

Hamish Dowie is bartender at Swift, in London. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Gin and Campari and the second with Mezcal and a Sugar Snap Pea Sorbet.

Hamish introduce yourself
I am Hamish Dowie and during my studies in French and Business I worked as a barback and realised bars were great places to have fun and meet girls. When I travelled to Australia after my studies I fell in love with the place. So I lied, and said I was already a bartender from London and found a job in a club called Cargo and later moved to the Loft. I was making quite a lot of friends and money, so I thought this could actually be a career. I came back to the UK and worked at Hawksmoor to improve my knwoledge of cocktails, then went back to Australia to study hospitality and worked at Palmer & Co where I learnt a lot. When I moved back to the UK I had a  discussion with Roman from Hawkmoor and Calvin, who is now at Little Red Door, but I knew I was living too far away and thanks to my network I found a position at Swift and moved. Ack to London. Swift has two bars, the one upstairs which is more about aperitifs with small bites or oysters, whereas downstairs it’s a more relaxed, speakeasy vibe, where you can enjoy a whisky or good cocktail.

The classic you want to show us
Cardinal
45ml of London Dry Gin
20 ml of Campari
20ml of Dry Vermouth

The bar you dream of
It would be a small place with two stations, for around 30-40 people. It would be close to the beach, on the North Coast of Australia, where you can easily find good seasonal produce to propose good twists on classics. Using seasonal produce Would also allow me to offer a new menu weekly, or even everyday. My bar Would be a place you could pop up by, have a drink and bar snacks with good veggie options, listen to some cool music, then go back surfing.

What do you do in your time off
Recently I went to Amsterdam as I love this city. I love to travel, so I am trying to visit more cities in Europe. I also do indoor rock climbing when I have time.

The spirit you like the most
My favourite spirit to work with with is gin. There are so many new gins coming now, with new botanicals which makes it such a vesatile spirit to use in drinks. I really like London Dry style with its’ citrus flavours, especially Escape to the Grape or the Australian/Kiwi gins like Four Pillars are also delicious.

What makes a good cocktail
Balance, the bartender, and a story behind the drink. Most of the time people sit at the bar, they don’t know what they want, just the flavours they likeA good bartender will understand what they really want and be able to create it and tell a story about it regarding the classic he has been inspired by.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I like using out the box ingredients, things that you can’t find easily or ingredients you would never imagine in a cocktail. My dad lives in the country and the garden is important, so I’ve created my signature cocktail using peas which add a strong vegetal note to the drink.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
The Daylily Fizz
40ml of London Dry Gin
30ml of Sugar Snap Pea Sorbet
20ml of Lime Juice
5ml of Green Chartreuse
2.5ml of Mezcal
Top with Champagne
Rim of Ham Salt

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Go to Little Red Door and see Calvin and Louis. And if you’re in Sydney go and visit Andrea from Maybe Frank, he knows his job and offers amazing drinks and service.

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