Mix it up: Stir in a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down

Philip Salter
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Flourishing species ultimately perish, rising civilisations fall in the end, and conquering nations are eventually defeated; but human beings – at least as long as we walk this planet – will always want to get drunk.

Though getting inebriated is a constant, the way we imbibe changes over space and time. And, like everything we do it’s affected by fashion. In just the past few decades we’ve gone from Lambrini to a Languedoc, from real ale to a craft beer, and from sweet Piña Coladas to bittersweet Negronis. Most of these changes have been for the best but everything comes at a price.

Nobody even likes alcohol when they first try it. I remember trying my first beer and believing I had happened upon a conspiracy. Surely everyone must be faking it? Everyone else must prefer chocolate milkshake, too?

A decade and a half later, my taste buds are shot through enough to enjoy all manner of alcoholic assault (more commonly known as educating the palate). Spirits no longer taste like poison. Today’s sophisticated man about town always orders a Mint Julep, an Old Fashioned, a Sazerac or Manhattan. What sort of ignoramus would order anything sweet? The negative stance that’s built up against sweet drinks is illogical. Sweet food isn’t frowned upon; sweet cocktails shouldn’t be either.

You probably wouldn’t want to a sweet cocktail alongside your dinner but they have a time and a place.

I first came across Coole Swan at a John Lewis tasting and have been sipping it on the sly ever since. I tried it on my flatmate’s less pretentious palate – a man brave enough to regularly order Baileys from packed pubs – and he was impressed enough to polish off the whole bottle of Irish cream liqueur in a couple of days. It’s time for po-faced, self-styled mixologists to put their prejudices aside and offer the people what they want (at least some of the time).

With a Coole Swan Chocolate Milkshake you’ll be breaking a modern taboo. To misquote Vanilla Sky, the bitter ain’t so bitter without the sweet.


■ 100ml Coole Swan
■ 50ml semi-skimmed milk
■ 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
■ 400g chocolate ice cream

• Gently blend Coole Swan, the milk and chocolate syrup with ice in an electric blender.

• Add the ice-cream and blend until smooth.

• Pour the mixture into a tall glass and serve with grated chocolate on top.