IRISH COFFEE

Foynes Airport | Ireland | 1940s

In a sealed jar, shake until thick but still pourable, then chill:
1 oz heavy cream

In a warmed Georgian glass, stir to combine:
2 teaspoons demerara sugar
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
scant 1/2 cup strong, dark roast hot coffee
Top with the thickened heavy cream

There are few things more satisfying and comforting than a well-made Irish Coffee. Cool cream blends with hot coffee as you take that first sip, backed up by the nip of Irish whiskey and rich sugar. Perfect for a rainy afternoon pick-me-up or a turbo-charged dessert. I prefer the somewhat extravagant Redbreast 12 in this — it’s an old-style Irish whiskey made in pot stills for a bit more body and funk than column-still whiskey. That extra bit of character stands up well when mixed with bold coffee. For the coffee, use the best you can produce with freshly-ground medium-to-dark roast beans. Use a French Press or a pour-over kit to make the coffee (drip coffee makers generally don’t get the water hot enough to extract the best flavor). Brew it a bit on the strong side (and don’t use a metal jigger to pour it). Sugar-wise, the extra bit of molasses in turbinado or demerara unifies the coffee and whiskey more harmoniously than white sugar. And for the whipped cream: sorry to say, but you gotta hand-whip it fresh. Canned whipped cream isn’t the right texture, won’t float on top, and has sweetness that will throw off the drink’s balance. This one is a perfect example of how specific glassware makes a difference: Many places use a larger, handled 8.5-ounce glass that encourage a bit too much coffee in the mix. Better to buy a set of the 6-ounce Libbey #8054 “Georgian” glasses they used in the original (made during World War II at a coastal seaplane port) and at The Buena Vista in San Francisco (where they make up to 2,000 Irish Coffees a day).

© 2020 Wexler of California / Dave Stolte

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