Thursday, 17 March 2011

A Saint Patrick's Irish Coffee

For those of you that celebrate the day, I wish you roads rising to meet you and the wind at your back and all that fun stuff. For those that do not, maybe you can be tempted to try this lovely recipe, which I learned when noght but a wee bairn at my Grandpappy's knee.

No I didn't, I learned it from a bartender in San Francisco, at the Buena Vista Café, the most famous place for Irish Coffees in America. At least it is if you believe their press.

The Buena Vista makes theirs according to the official recipe from Joe Sheridan, a bartender at Shannon Airport, who invented the drink: "Cream as rich as an Irish brogue, coffee as strong as a friendly hand, sugar as sweet as the tongue of a rogue, and whiskey as smooth as the wit of the land.''

The Irish claim they invented whiskey -- the ancient Gaels called it "uisce beathe,'' the water of life. The Scots have a few choice words for the Irish over that matter.

Whiskey has always been something to fight over. Even now, it is not a good idea to serve Bushmill's, which is made in Northern Ireland, to an Irish person from the south, nor to serve Jameson's, made in the Republic of Ireland, to somebody from Ulster.

But, I'll leave my audience to decide which Irish Whiskey to choose when making this drink, what's important is that you make it. And have one for me, please.

In a heat resistant glass, place one or two teaspoons of raw cane sugar. This is important because without the sugar, the cream will not float. You can also use liquid cane sugar, sirop de canne, it's faster. I know the Buena Vista uses C&H cane sugar, but I prefer raw cane sugar. No, you can't use artificial sweeteners. Just suck it up and use the real stuff, please.

Pour over the sugar hot strong brewed coffee to about 3/4 full. Not instant, ever. Stir to dissolve the sugar or skip that if you used liquid.

Add a shot or two of your choice of Irish Whiskey. Yes, it needs to be Irish Whiskey, not Scotch Whisky. There's a huge difference.

Then, using an inverted spoon held just above the surface of the coffee, gently and slowly pour unsweetened double cream so that it floats on top of the coffee. If you don't have double cream, you can try single cream, but it will probably 'mix in'. Still tastes good but the presentation isn't as nice. You can also try softly whipping the cream, just a bit, so that it floats easier. Also, cream that's a couple days old works better. No, don't use canned whippy cream, that's disgusting and an affront to the Irish Coffee gods.

You drink the Irish Coffee by sipping it through the thick layer of cream. Luscious.

Now, go find a special someone or other and make one of these for them. Even if they don't have Irish eyes, they'll still be smiling, and at you.

Mmmmm... Perfect.


auntiegwen said...

Ooh I want one of them :)

Pip said...

Always thought an Irish coffee looked very much like a glass of Guiness.
Thankfully I don't like either so, Kitty, you have failed to tempt me into naughtiness.
Good try though.
Cream, booze, sugar - oh woe is me.

the fly in the web said...

Introduced these to our hosts on our first trip to Costa Rica...but with rum as that's what he had.
He christened them Castros...and he's passed on the recipe to his friends and family so we come across them from time to time when invited out.
And still make them ourselves...there is one tricky point the absence of fresh cream there is one main brand of cream in a box which inevitably has turned solid by the time it hits the shelves, so I have to go to the supermarket which sells the 'other' brand and, if by some miracle they have it in stock, grab everything they have and leg it.

And they say life here is laid back...huh!

Kitty said...

AuntieGwen: You have no idea how much I want an Irish Coffee, it's everything I'm not allowing myself right now.
Well, besides, it's Lent, huh?
Irish Coffees bring back some delightful memories. :)
Kisses from Kitty xx

Pip: How about a Bailey's Cheesecake? Or Irish Coffee Shortbread with a Whiskey Glaze? Oh, or a Kahlua Chocolate Moelleux with softly whipped Chantilly cream? You cracking yet? :D
Kind regards, Kitty

Fly in the Web: Is that using Bacardi rum? It's not that stuff that tastes and smells like tarmac they use here, is it? I've yet to discover decent French rum, frankly, I prefer Bacardi or Navy rum. Anyway, I'll have to give those Castros a try sometime in the future. I'm off all alcohol until at least Christmas, maybe longer.

I suppose I can just boil the hot mulled wine for Noël, then all the alcohol will have evaporated, huh?

The solid cream you describe sounds just like what we get here at Lidl. Which is why I never buy Lidl UHT cream.
Kind regards, Kitty

Pip said...

You temptress Kitty.
If this continues I shall be paying you a visit and force-feeding you CHOCOLATE!!!!!!
I know I've gone naughty on muesli breakfast but lots of water and excercise does not replace the effects of All-Bran. I hate All-Bran so something different was needed for me. I now enjoy breakfast and the trip it produces afterwards.
And as the loss has now 18lb I am a happy and not hungry bunny.
As you so rightly say your incentive is the most convincing one there is.
Keep up the good work.

Kitty said...

Pip: The thing with chocolate, for me? I can have one tiny square and be just fine. It really aggravates my girls as they think an open pack of chocolate should be an empty pack of chocolate. So I have to hide the 70% stuff or it would disappear like morning mist.

The and sites have de-fatted cocoa powder and natural, unsweetened flavourings which I think I'll pick up when the cash comes in next month. Just a little something to make this a bit easier for my palate.

Well done you on the 18 lbs! Keep it up! You'll be stabilising in no time at this rate!

Kind regards, Kitty

la fourchette said...

Oh my! I love the Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Café. Best ever and I'd forgotten! Thanks for the reminder...and the recipe!

Kitty said...

Leslie: I have lazy, hazy memories of the Buena Vista. I rather chanced upon the place, I wasn't looking for it, just went in. Probably one of the nicest times I've spent in San Francisco; great company, great conversation and within stumbling distance to my hotel :)
And then that leads me to think of Henry Africa's...

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