I have just watched a celebrity chef decimate the preparation of what was called an “Irish Coffee” and adulterate the concoction with the addition of Peppermint Schnapps, Vanilla Extract and that most heinous of errors whipped cream, making it more of a “Peppermint Bark Coffee”. My many friends in Ireland would be mortified if I did not attempt to address the balance by stating the more traditional approach and true Irish coffee.
Irish coffee made its world appearance in 1943, when it is reported that a flight from Shannon Airport Ireland was cancelled and a local chef called Joe Sheridan, provided coffee with the addition of Irish Whisky for the cold passengers whilst they waited. When the passengers asked what they were drinking, he announced “Why Irish Coffee of course”
It then became a staple at Shannon Airport and was experienced by an American travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanton Delaplane. Delaplane brought the idea back to the USA and it was not long before the drink was added to the menu of the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, the rest is history.
Method: Take a large glass, a large Paris Goblet style wine glass works well (as in the picture) but you can buy glasses specifically for Irish Coffee, I prefer the Paris Goblet style as the glass is thinner and seems add to the experience somehow.
Place a teaspoon in the glass and carefully pour hot water into the glass to warm, (the teaspoon dissipates the heat and stops the glass from breaking). After the glass has warmed pour out the water and fill two thirds full with your favorite strong brewed coffee. Add a large teaspoon of brown sugar and about 1.5 to 2 Fluid oz. of a good Irish Whiskey (Jameson is always a good option). Stir until the sugar is dissolved and Whiskey combined. Note: Irish Whiskey is triple distilled which leads to a lighter drink as opposed to Scottish Whisky being distilled usually only twice. Both are great but distinctly different even in the spelling.
Now the tricky part, warm a spoon by dipping in hot water and gently pour heavy cream over the back of the spoon to float on the top of the coffee, until you have a collar of about half an inch, ensuring that the heavy cream spreads and remains sitting over the surface of the coffee.
Once you have reached this point do not stir or add anything else to the coffee, you should drink the hot coffee through the chilled cream, and reward yourself for having an excellent cream moustache.
You may wish to save this preparation until the St Patrick’s Day celebrations or when it cools off a bit here in Florida during the fall or the winter holidays. Enjoy!