The Nations Favourite Winter Warmer - All About the Irish Coffee
After an apparent summer that comprised of a few sporadic scorchers and a couple of good weeks amidst a nationwide lockdown, we are indeed coming to the end of Irelands most unpredictable season. However, not all is doom and gloom despite the darkening days. We have the spectacular array of autumnal colours to look forward to along with the crisp, fresh breeze that epitomises the latter half of the Irish calendar year (and let’s be honest, most of the rest of the year too). But most importantly of all, it will soon become socially acceptable to cradle that perfect Irish Coffee by the fireside!
Although disputed, one of the more popular origin tales of the Irish coffee reports that it was invented by barman and chef Joe Sheridan in the early 1940’s in the old Foynes Flying Boat Airport. To please disgruntled passengers after a cancelled transatlantic flight due to poor weather conditions, Sheridan apparently produced the winning Irish Coffee, undoubtedly to everyone's delight. And so, the much-loved Irish Coffee was born!
The fundamentals of said Irish Coffee are quite simple, but for those of you who aren’t familiar, the staple ingredients are as follows; coffee, Irish whiskey, brown sugar and cream. Some will go for a pinch of nutmeg or a sprinkle of chocolate powder, but that’s not our main concern. For us, the whiskey is key! When deciding what to go for, we’ve included some suggestions, from classic tried and tested to more nuanced, personal favourites. For us, Powers Gold Label is always a safe bet, as is Paddy Irish Whiskey and Tullamore Dew Original. Some more recent releases which also lend themselves beautifully to an Irish Coffee are the highly acclaimed Teeling Small Batch and multi-award-winning Irishman Founders Reserve Whiskey.
If you’re already a frequent crafter and consumer of the beloved Irish Coffee, you may consider changing things up a little. Coole Swan can be added to cold coffee (along with a few chunks of ice) in place of sugar for a decadent and luxurious iced Irish Coffee! Or why not try a glass of Sheridan's Coffee Layered Liqueur. The name says it all, simply pour a measure of the dark liqueur and then add the white liqueur and you have yourself a first cousin to the Irish Coffee.
The Quintessential Irish Coffee
Although the whiskeys mentioned above are what we would recommend using for your Irish coffee, most Irish whiskeys will work fine depending on what you have in the press at home. Below, we’ve outlined step by step the best method to follow when crafting the quintessential IC! Making a good one is easy, but making a GREAT one involves a little bit more attention to detail, so follow the guidelines below and get crafting!
- To start, heat your glass by adding some boiling water and gently swirling it. Add a metal spoon to your glass when adding the water to prevent the glass from cracking.
- Dispose of boiling water.
- Add a measure of your favourite Irish whiskey to the glass.
- Add a serving of your favourite coffee. Make sure to leave room for the whipped cream on top.
- Add a spoon of sugar and stir well.
- Finally, add the cream. Whisk cream in a bowl until it begins to stiffen slightly. Refrain from over whisking or the cream will be difficult to pour!
- Turn your spoon upside and place the tip into the glass, just above the coffee. Slowly pour the whipped cream over the spoon and into the coffee. Not too fast or the cream won’t float.
- Add an optional sprinkle of chocolate powder on top and you’re good to go.