Monday, March 15, 2010

When Irish Eyes Don't Just Smile, They Twinkle - Irish Coffee (Caife Gaelach)

It is almost St. Patick's day and while most will be swigging copious amounts of Fast Green No. 3 or a combination of Brilliant Blue No. 1 & Tartrazine Yellow 5 laced beer, I have chosen to get a little more hard core with my celebratory beverage. After all, being a lover of all things coffee, I suppose it stands to rights that this would be my choice over unnaturally tinted pilsner. Though I may have to chase it with a Guinness ;)

I am speaking of the deliciousness of Irish Coffee. Of which there seems to be some confusion. It appears that America has been getting all the credit for the invention of Irish Coffee, however it was only popularized in the U.S. by Stanton Delaplane in the 50s. The origins of Irish coffee really DO come from the Emerald Isle and a decade earlier. Let us turn back the clock, shall we?

Our story begins on a dark and stormy winter's night back in the 40s. Much to cold for Man and Beast. Joseph Sheridan, who was the head chef at Foynes Port, created the drink by adding good old Irish Whiskey to the coffee in an effort to warm up passengers disembarking from a Pan Am flight. Evidently, someone from the flight asked Joseph if he was serving them Brazilian Coffee, to which Joseph replied, "No, That is Irish Coffee". The name stuck and the rest, as they say, is History. Let us fast forward to the present.

Let's talk ingredients.... These are all personal preferences, of course, but this is how I make it.

The Coffee - Medium Dark roast, brewed in a French Press.
The Sugar - Demerara, cause brown sugar does not really dissolve properly. Though "Raw" sugar will work.
The Whiskey - I like Jameson neat, but the coffee overpowers most of the subtle flavor, so I use Bushmill's. And as good as Jameson is, Bushmill's distillery is over 172 years older, so it has been "Irish" for a longer period of time... LOL
The Cream - I use Heavy Cream that has been partially whipped so it is frothy yet still pourable.
The Glass - An Irish Coffee glass of course. But a coffee mug will do in a pinch. While this is what is usually considered an Irish Coffee glass in bars across America.....

I actually prefer this one. Not only is it more my "Style", but it also holds and extra ounce... hee hee...

Classic Irish Coffee

1 1/2 oz Bushmill's
1 tsp Demerara Sugar
4 - 5 oz French Press Coffee
Float of Thickened Heavy Cream

First you have to start your French Press coffee.

When you pour the hot water over the grounds (and start your 4 minute timer) pour a little of the water into your Irish Coffee Cup, to heat it up. Let it just set there for just 1 minute.
While the coffee continues to steep, dump the water from the now warmed glass and add the Bushmill's.

Add the Demerara sugar....

And stir a little (not all of it will dissolve, but it gives it a head start for when you add the hot coffee.)

Beat the Heavy Cream until it becomes thick, but still pourable. (just like for the "Violets in the Snow" cocktail)

When the coffee is done, pour the coffee into the glass to about 1 - 1 1/4 inch from the rim.

Pour the thick cream over the back of a spoon so it will float on the top.

And there you have it.... an Irish Coffee. Sure to keep you warm on the coldest winter's night, or make your eyes smile like the those of the Irish. ;)

So kick back and slowly sip the whiskey laced coffee goodness through the cream.

Oh, and if you serve this to guests, don't forget to hand them a napkin so they can wipe away their Heavy Cream mustache.

Ah Heaven!

Sláinte agus táinte!


Patti T. said...

I am slow, it took me a while to figure out that last picture, you are so funny. Pass me one of those, will you?

Bob said...

I've never actually had an Irish coffee... I have no idea why not. It looks wicked good.

Unknown said...

now THATS the way to start the morning...hee heee