Irish Coffee

Photo by Susan Whitney.

Irish Coffee


1.5 oz. Bushmills Irish Whiskey
.75 oz. hot simple syrup
5-7 oz. freshly brewed coffee
Heavy cream, lightly whipped

Pour Bushmills and simple syrup in an 8-10 oz.  of glass (See the Bodum Pavina 8.5 -Ounce Double-Wall heat-pro Thermo Tumbler/DOF Glass above). Fill with coffee to within a centimeter of the top of the glass, then gently top with cream and serve.

I sleepily wander downstairs to open the shades to a lovely spring morning and find fluffy white stuff falling into the backyard. Could it be flower petals? No, not flower petals — snow. In Washington, DC. In April.

I think we can all agree this is bullshit.

Rather than walk outside and shake my fist at the sky, I’ve decided to embrace this last (I hope) gasp of winter  with one of my favorite cold weather drinks, an Irish Coffee. A properly made Irish Coffee is like someone softly placing a blanket over you while you nap. Immensely comforting.

I was taught how to make Irish Coffees while bartending at Molly’s at the Market in New Orleans’ French Quarter by iconic bar owner Jim Monaghan (1938-2001).  It was simple and perfect and served, rather unusually, I thought, in a stemmed white wine glass. There was an old shake mixer at the end of the bar, which occasionally administered a mild electric shock, and a boston shaker half-filled with heavy whipping cream. He taught me to whip the cream just enough to thicken it a bit and not to mix the cream into the coffee. The cream should cool and flavor the coffee as it passes through it, he said, “and, don’t put any of that green shit on it,” referring to the hackneyed practice of garnishing it with a splash of green crème de menthe to signify its Irishness.

Starting my night at Molly’s with a couple of Irish Coffees usually meant I’d be out until 5 am. These days, the ingredients are staple items for blizzard stockpiling, and, therefore, seem an apt toast for a snowy April morning.

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