Some of you may remember that I went to Ireland back in September. It was a wonderful adventure that I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around. Each time I browse through the photos, I remember something new and I want to bottle it up so I never forget. A big part of that trip was spent finding out how to go adventuring after having two kids, an adventure in and of itself, and I wrote a bit about that here.
Months later, I’m finally getting ready to share some recipes inspired by this beautiful country and I thought it would be appropriate to start with Irish Coffee. Our first night in Ireland was spent in Dublin. We landed in Ireland before the sun rose, so we had a long day of fighting jet lag ahead of us. By the end of the day, we had done some site seeing, taken a brief nap, and went out for a pint and some oysters. This gave us the push we needed to make the most out of our one and only night in Dublin, so we didn’t stop there. My parents and I visited a second pub and enjoyed another couple of pints (well, actually my dad and I had the pints- my mom probably spent most of her evening chuckling at us and shaking her head at our shenanigans). Our jet lagged bodies were feeling hungry, so we headed to a restaurant across the street and I ate a big plate of heavenly pasta and decided I needed to sip on an Irish Coffee.
Out came this beautiful, simple drink dusted with cocoa powder. The first sip tasted strongly of whisky with a subtle sweetness at the finish. The soft and airy whipped cream was unsweetened and added a luxurious texture that the stuff in a can will never achieve. I knew right then and there that I had to make this as soon as I was back in my Colorado kitchen.
So here is my recipe. It is simple, it is not overly sweet, and it is a lovely way to end a big meal. I usually like to add a little twist to recipes like this to make them my own, but I just didn’t feel that was necessary here. Good strong coffee, cream, and whisky doesn’t need doctoring up.
*note: The key to getting the whipped cream just right is to whip it until it is thick but barely even has soft peaks. You want it to be billowy and flowy but not stiff. If you can get your hands on raw sugar cubes, those are best. But in a pinch, you can also use light brown sugar. I have made this with Irish whisky and bourbon. Both are tasty.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 10 oz strong coffee (I like to make an Americano with my espresso machine)
- 4 oz Irish whisky or Bourbon
- 2 raw sugar cubes (or 2 tsp light brown sugar)
- cocoa powder for dusting
- Whip the cream until it has thickened significantly but does not have stiff peaks. The cream will seem overly soft and will not hold its shape, but that is just what you want. Set the bowl of cream aside.
- Divide your sugar between two coffee mugs or heat proof, clear cocktail glasses (clear glass allows you to see the beautiful contrast of the coffee with the cream). Pour the hot coffee over your sugar and stir it gently. Divide the whisky between the two coffee cups and give it one more gentle stir.
- Spoon a generous amount of cream over the coffee. Sprinkle the cream with a little cocoa powder. Serve and enjoy!