On a cold, damp day there’s nothing like an Irish coffee to warm you up from the inside out. Legend tells us that’s what Joseph Sheridan thought in 1942 when a group of American travelers ended up at his restaurant in Ireland. Joe wanted to give them something that would warm up and awaken his cold and weary guests. Hot coffee with a bit of sugar, a jigger of whiskey and topped with rich cream proved to be the perfect pick-me-up. One of the travelers, curious to know more about the beverage, asked Joe if it was Brazilian coffee. Joe responded, “No, it’s Irish coffee.” And so the tradition began.
According to Sheridan, the original recipe is this:
“Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.”
It’s simple, but as Sheridan’s poetic recipe indicates, to get the most out of your Irish coffee use quality ingredients. And in my opinion since this is a coffee-based beverage, it’s essential that you don’t skimp on using good coffee. I think a darker roast works best as it stands up well to the added cream, sugar and whiskey. For my recipe, I used FreshGround’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Dark Roast.
Simple, delicious and perfect for a damp and chilly spring evening, especially around St. Patrick’s Day.
What’s your favorite beverage to enjoy this time of year?
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 6 oz. freshly brewed hot coffee (darker roast is best)
- 1½ oz. Irish whiskey
- Heavy cream, very lightly whipped (I hand whip it for a few seconds)
- Preheat an Irish coffee mug by rinsing it with very hot water.
- Add brown sugar and coffee and stir.
- Add whiskey.
- Top with cream.