thirsty thursday: irish coffee

In honor of the upcoming holiday, today’s liquid libation is in celebration of one of Ireland’s most famous drinks – the Irish Coffee.

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There are many different variations of this classic drink. It is generally agreed, however, that the original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan, a head chef in Foynes, County Limerick. Approached by a group of disparaged American travelers on a terrible winter night in the 1940s, he decided to add whisky to their coffee, in hopes of warming up. When asked what it was, Sheridan replied “Irish coffee”. A legend was born, and has been around since.

Depending on how much of a purist you are when it comes to this satisfying beverage, several variations do exist. Whisky, coffee, and cream are the basic components, but preparations and additional ingredients are plentiful. Let’s take a look, shall we?

-the use of espresso machines or automatic coffee is now the norm.

-coffee is either a cafe americano (which is espresso diluted slightly with water), or a filtered coffee.

-at least one level teaspoon of sugar is used in the drink.

-some bartenders choose to use whipped cream from a can (resulting in a sweeter finish), whereas some choose to shake unsweetened heavy cream gently, layering it atop the hot beverage by slowly….sloooooowly…pouring it oven the back of a spoon, held slightly above the hot coffee.

Surprisingly, the cream liquors that float on top (i.e. Bailey’s) are not part of the traditional recipe(!). This is one of the many variations that are widely popular. Rum can be used, Scotch, creme de menthe, schnapps, etc…the possibilities are endless. I will be honest and say that sometimes there are those days where I like a little extra sweetness that the Bailey’s brings to the table, but then there are those days where I want to just enjoy the smooth taste of the whisky, unfiltered and pure. To each his, or her, own!

But since we are paying homage to the classic, we’re approaching today’s recipe with no frills, and no fuss. Because sometimes, you just don’t need to mess with perfection, amiright?



Irish Coffee {recipe from Esquire}

Serves 1

2 ounces Irish whisky (the hubs and I love Jameson’s, but any option will do)

5-6 ounces good, hot coffee

2 tsp. sugar

heavy cream

Pour the whiskey, coffee, and sugar* into a stemmed, heated glass mug. Stir, then top off with a thick layer of lightly whipped heavy cream. Sip slowly, ideally enjoying in front of a warm fire.

* Sheridan’s original formula seems to have called for brown sugar.


3 thoughts on “thirsty thursday: irish coffee

  1. Pingback: thirsty thursday: margaritas | kitchen konfidential

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