Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. That hallowed day of green beer, shamrock everything, and shots! shots! shots! I don’t know about you, but I’m just not up for that craziness anymore. I mean, some shades of green can be very flattering, and I can get down with a whisk(e)y shot on occasion – as long as it’s the good stuff! But I’m fairly certain that come tomorrow, I won’t be getting sloppy in a pub or playing green beer pong in honor of St. Paddy’s Day. Do you know what I will be indulging in? A wee bit of Irish Whiskey AND Irish Cream…in the form of Irish coffee cocktails. Because that’s what grown ups do on the Feast of Saint Patrick!
The traditional Irish Coffee is a very basic recipe – coffee, sugar, whiskey and heavy cream. But for some reason, it is difficult to ever get a very good one. Even in Ireland, Irish Coffees are served in nearly every pub, but the drink isn’t taken very seriously and that pub coffee has most likely been sitting on a burner for an entire day. It’s even purported that the drink was invented to mask the taste of bad coffee.
But with the cocktail renaissance came an appreciation for this cozy drink, and interpretations of it using the best ingredients. Strong, quality, fresh made coffee is key, as well as hand whipped cream, and an Irish whiskey that won’t overpower the rest of the flavors. For this, I chose to use a whiskey that I tried for the very first time just this past Monday, (it literally launched in the states last week) – a brand new expression from Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Bushmills Red Bush.
Bushmills, Ireland’s oldest distiller, makes very approachable whiskies. And this new expression is no exception. Created with the bourbon drinker in mind, Bushmills Red Bush is matured exclusively in American white oak bourbon barrels. While it has those familiar notes you might find in a bourbon, toasted oak and vanilla, it is subtle and balanced and decidedly Irish!
I found this to be a lovely addition to Irish Coffee. It had just enough punch to make it boozy but didn’t overpower the coffee at all.
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
heavy cream, whipped
Pour hot coffee into a warmed mug until it is about 3/4 full. Add sugar and Irish whiskey, stir until blended. Gently top with the whipped heavy cream by pouring over back of spoon.
In much of the country, winter is not letting go and Irish Coffee is still very much in season. But if you’re in a warmer climate like Los Angeles for instance, (it was nearly 90 the other day!) you may want to opt for something with a little bit of a chill tomorrow. However, I can pretty much drink an Iced Irish Coffee in any season!
Kerrygold, a company you may be familiar with specializing in Irish Dairy Products, has now created their very own Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. It is a blend of natural Irish cream, Belgium chocolate and oak-aged Irish whiskey.
Soon after launching, they won World’s Best Cream Liqueur at the 2016 World Drinks Awards, and you can see why. Rich and velvety, with a subtle hint of whiskey at the end, it is an ideal partner with a strong, cold brewed coffee in this Iced Irish Coffee.
Iced Irish Coffee
6 oz Cooled Strong Coffee (or cold brew)
2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream
In an ice-filled shaker, add ingredients and shake until well chilled. Pour into a tall tumbler or jar with ice. Enjoy!