On Saint Paddy's Day, the drink of choice tends to involve food coloring, cheap beer, and maybe a plastic shamrock or two — but this year, let's do better. Rather than the usual acid-green libation, why not opt for a cocktail that’s authentic and combines two of the greatest substances on the planet: coffee and whiskey? Oh yes, we’re talking about Irish Coffee, which, unlike that green beer you were planning on drinking instead, actually hails from the Emerald Isle.
First poured in the 1940s for travelers passing through a local airport, the drink is everything you could ask for in a warming, end-of winter cocktail — caffeinated, boozy, and best of all, just four ingredients long.
"It's all in the details," says Jim Meehan, the legendary bartender behind Please Don't Tell in New York City. That means no instant coffee, and no skimping on the whiskey: You're going to need the good Irish stuff to really make St. Patrick proud. The finishing touch? A dollop of homemade whipped cream that, with the help of an old bartender's secret, comes together in just 30 seconds.
Need we say any more? Below, Meehan shows us how to make a classic Irish coffee.
1. Brew, baby
First things first: Brew your coffee. Meehan recommends a French press, "to reserve some of those oils when you grind the bean a little bit more coarse."
2. Whip it
For the ultimate whipped cream hack, add three ounces of heavy cream into a cocktail shaker, along with the spring from a Hawthorne strainer. (If you’re short on bar tools, feel free to use a Mason jar instead.) Now, shake as if you were making a cocktail for 30 seconds, and bam! Fresh whipped cream at your disposal.
3. Unite coffee and whiskey
Pour Irish whiskey and brewed coffee, in a 1:5 ratio, into a pre-warmed mug.
4. Top it off
Since the boiling point of alcohol is lower than the boiling point of water, all you’re going to smell at this point is whiskey — which is where the whipped cream comes in. Top your cocktail with a few fresh spoonfuls to round out the aroma.
Get the full video recipe (plus ingredients and instructions!) for Jim Meehan’s Irish Coffee on Panna Cooking.
Images: Panna Cooking (6)