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Perfect your Irish Coffee with these expert recipes

Perfect your Irish Coffee with these expert recipes

It seems obvious now: the best winter drink should always be hot coffee and whiskey in some form.

But Irish Coffee is a relatively young drink. A quick recap: this veritable winter drink began in 1942 at Foynes Airport in Ireland’s mid-west, where a seaplane en route from New York to Rome suffered engine trouble and landed. An airport chef, Joe Sheridan, made a hot drink from coffee, cream, Irish whiskey, and sugar. One passenger, Stanton Delaplane, a San Francisco newspaper writer, became obsessed with this “Gaelic coffee” and his passion eventually led to the drink recreation at the Buena Vista Cafe ten years later.

“The Buena Vista started serving Irish Coffees in 1952 and now makes an average of 2,000 Irish Coffees a day,” explains Tim Herlihy, co-founder of Lost Irish (an Irish whiskey that is made from casks sourced from six continents and distilled three times using all three whiskey production styles.) and co-author of From Barley to Blarney: A Whiskey Lover’s Guide to Ireland with NYC’s celebrated team at Irish pub The Dead Rabbit. “It has become an icon for Ireland’s favorite cocktail.”

(Herlihy, The Dead Rabbit and Buena Vista Cafe are all coming together to showcase Irish Coffee and other Irish whiskey/coffee drinks like The Frozen Irish and Irish Whiskey Espresso Martini this Wednesday — National Irish Coffee Day — at a themed pop-up in The Dead Rabbit. You can get tickets here.)

So that’s for New Yorkers. If you’re in San Francisco, stop by Buena Vista to try their iconic version of the cocktail. “The Buena Vista isn’t just known for its Irish Coffee, it’s also known for its bar theater and showmanship,” says Herlihy (who, speaking of showmanship, actually holds a world record for making the largest Irish Coffee ever at 234 gallons) . “The first time I went to the Buena Vista, bartender Larry quickly made a dozen Irish Coffees at a time. Larry was both a talented bartender and a talented magician, entertaining guests with a series of magic tricks between serving Irish Coffee. A belter of an Irish Coffee and an iconic must see bar.”

Below are a few recipes for Irish Coffee – one from Herlihy, one I tried in Ireland in December and loved at the Teeling distillery, a unique American/Irish take on the Minnesota drink The keeper’s heart and a non-alcoholic version of Kate Wise op Hotel Vermont. Also if you want to hack the recipe, that’s it quite easy to change.

Irish Coffee from The Lost Irish

Irish Coffee by Tim Herlihy, co-founder of Lost Irish

Joanna Lin

Irish Coffee by Tim Herlihy

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

Portions: 1

Ingredients
  • 1.5 oz Lost Ireland Irish Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz demerara syrup
  • 3.5 oz dark roast coffee
  • Thumb of prepared Heavy Cream (36% fat content)

Travel directions
    1. Preheat a 6-ounce, heat-resistant glass by filling it with hot water. Empty the glass as soon as it is warm.

    2. Add whiskey, simple syrup and coffee to the glass and stir quickly to combine the ingredients.

    3. Drizzle a thumb layer of cream over it.

Dublin coffee

Dublin Coffee from Teeling

Teeling

Dublin Coffee from Teeling

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Portions: 1

Ingredients
  • 1.5 parts Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
  • 4 parts locally roasted coffee
  • .5 part stout syrup*
  • Bar spoon of whipped cream

Travel directions
    1. Stout Syrup: 33 oz. Craft Stout Beer, 35 oz. Muscovado dark sugar, 1 part juniper berries, 0.5 part whole cloves, 5 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, 1 zest of an orange, pinch of sea salt

    2. In a preheated glass, combine Teeling Whiskey, brewed coffee, syrup and stir to combine.

    3. Finish with cream from the back of a bar spoon.

    4. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Keepers Heart Irish Whiskey

Keepers Heart Irish Whiskey

The keeper’s heart

Keeper’s Heart Irish Coffee

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 5 mins

Total time: 10 minutes

Portions: 1

Ingredients
  • 2 oz Keeper’s Heart whiskey
  • .66 oz pure MN maple syrup
  • 10 oz of hot coffee
  • 1 scoop clotted cream

Travel directions
    1. Add Keeper’s Heart and maple syrup to the mug, followed by coffee.

    2. Garnish with a generous dollop of clotted cream

Temperance coffee from Hotel Vermont

Kate Wise’s Temperance Coffee at Hotel Vermont

Hotel Vermont

Temperance Irish Coffee

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 5 mins

Total time: 10 minutes

Portions: 1

Ingredients
  • 0.75 oz brown sugar syrup
  • 5 oz hot coffee (preferably Brio)
  • maple whip*

Travel directions
    1. Prep Brown Sugar Syrup: Combine equal parts brown sugar and hot water. Stir until dissolved.

    2. Prep Maple Whip: Add 8 oz heavy cream (Monumental farms) and 0.75 oz Vermont maple syrup in a 16 oz mason jar. Cover tightly and shake until the cream has doubled in volume. This can take up to five minutes

    3. Combine brown sugar syrup and coffee in your favorite mug (bonus points if you have an Irish Coffee glass).

    4. Top with hand shaken maple whip. Pour over a spoon just above the surface of the coffee to keep the cream layer on top.

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