With the winter party season at its peak, winter warmers are likely being poured in taverns everywhere as you read this. One of my favorites involves strong coffee, a touch of cream and a kiss of quality Irish whiskey.
The story of the famed Irish coffee is actually a bit more American than Irish. The original concoction was indeed created in Ireland — at an airport bar, believe it or not. It was subsequently exported by travel writer Stanton Delaplane in the 1950s and recreated at the Buena Vista, a lauded San Francisco bar and restaurant that currently crafts 2,000 Irish coffees each day.
The recipe is quite simple, but requires fresh whipping cream, not the canned variety that is actually in short supply anyway due to a nitrous oxide plant explosion earlier this year. No worries. Grab a quart of real whipping cream and lightly whisk. You’ll likely never buy it in the can again.
Another key is to heat the glass with hot water prior to pouring in the coffee. This will help keep the drink warm while you sip.
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And the final key is to stare out a window at the snow while you sip. This helps melt your winter woes away.
Kevin Hopper loves all things winter, including making hot toddies and Irish coffees at State Street cocktail house Capitol Bar.
1 cup strong hot coffee
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 ounces quality Irish whiskey (Tullamore Dew is recommended)
1 1/2 ounces heavy cream, lightly whipped
Fill the glass with near boiling water to heat it up. After 30 seconds or so, pour out the water into another glass and drop in a spoon. Fill your glass 3/4 full with hot coffee. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add Irish whiskey. Take the heated spoon and place over the glass. Gently pour lightly whipped cream over the spoon and into the drink. Repeat until spring arrives.