Everything You Need to Know about Irish Coffee

P.C.: Food and Wine

Although there are many coffee cocktails available, none provide the absolute warmth and smoothness of Irish coffee. The classic combination of bitter coffee, butter whiskey, brown sugar, and frothy whipped cream has long succeeded in giving us delight on rainy and cold nights.

So, let’s dig in and learn more about this delightful, sweet whiskey-laced coffee drink.

Story of Irish coffee 

Despite the availability of many coffee cocktails, Irish coffee created the buzz with its smooth and bittersweet profile. The invention of Irish coffee is credited to then airport chef Joe Sheridan, who worked at Foynes Airport, situated near Limerick. The airport served as a base for transatlantic flights. On one rainy winter night in the 1950s, a passenger flight had to turn around due to stormy weather. Exhausted by the delay, this warm drink worked like a charm for the passengers. Upon being asked by one of the passengers, “Is this Brazilian coffee?” Sheridan replied, “No, this is Irish coffee”. And, thus, from there on then, the drink was known as Irish Coffee.

Later a travel journalist, Stanton Delaplane, tasted the drink and brought it to San Francisco, United States, in 1952. Delaplane was encouraged by a bartender at the Buena Vista hotel to create the American version of this drink. They failed to keep the cream afloat and went back to take help from Sheridan to perfect it. To date, Buena Vista has sold millions of cups of Irish Coffee. 

How is Irish coffee made?

This infamous drink is so delicious that it has found its way in the IBA’s list of cocktails featuring Contemporary Classics.

Below is the recipe provided by IBA:

50 ml Irish Whiskey

120 ml Hot coffee

50 ml Chilled Fresh cream (or whipped cream)

1 tsp sugar

Pour the chilled fresh cream through the back of the spoon to keep it afloat. P.C.: Liquor.com

Add hot coffee to a preheated Irish coffee glass and pour Irish whiskey. Then add sugar to the mix and stir it well until fully dissolved. Finally, top it off with fresh cream or whipped cream through the back of the spoon.

What is the taste of Irish coffee?

A classic Irish coffee has a fruity note of coffee and the warmth of whiskey with a hint of sweetness from the added sugar. The fresh cream adds creaminess to the drink and gives a satisfying full mouthfeel. This sweet-boozy beverage is drunk through the cream.

Can Irish coffee make you drunk? 

The presence of whiskey raises the eyebrows of whether this drink could give an alcoholic buzz. It does succeed in giving you a little buzz but not enough to get you drunk. However, be mindful of the number of shots you use, as more than two shots of whiskey will end up giving you a hangover the next day.

Is it safe to drink Irish Coffee? 

While it is advised for individuals with severe health conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding women, to avoid the consumption of Irish coffee, it is completely safe for healthy individuals to consume it occasionally in moderation. Avoid overconsumption and drinking before driving because of the combination of alcohol and caffeine content in this drink.

What kind of coffee to use for Irish coffee? 

The kind of coffee you want to use for Irish coffee depends entirely upon how strong you want your drink.

Light to medium roast 100% Arabica coffee pressed from an espresso machine yields a smooth and round flavour coffee with hints of fruits. If you are looking for a strong and deep cup of coffee, try coffee pressed from French-press, where you can use medium roast Arabica and Robusta mix. Café Americano and filter coffee also make a good choice as the base.

Avoid using pure Robusta varieties. This variety offers a robust flavour, and its addition will thereby overpower the flavour of the whiskey.

Can you use other alcohol for Irish coffee?

Since Irish whiskey has a smooth and round flavour, it serves as an ideal base for Irish coffee. But if you don’t have Irish whiskey, you can substitute it with other blended whiskey or bourbon. The smooth and rich flavour of the two will complement well with the bitter flavour of the coffee.

Do not use Single-malt or scotch whiskey as a substitute because the strong flavour of these drinks will dominate the coffee.

Find whole roasted beans of medium-dark roastmedium roast100% Arabica coffeeand a mix of Arabica and Robusta varieties at the Don Carlos store to make an excellent cup of Irish coffee. 

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