Irish Coffee

irish coffee

Irish Coffee has always been a great drink for many nocturnal adventures. The caffiene keeps you up and the whiskey keeps you loose. It’s wonderful for a good time at the casino when you just want to have fun … all night long. Obviously alcohol and better judgement rarely go hand in hand so use the extra hours of stimulant-induced joy sanely.

There’s plenty of legend surrounding this drink, but it apparently goes back to the 1940’s and an Irish airport.

The Basics:

  • 2 parts Irish whiskey
  • 4 parts fresh hot coffee
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • fresh whipped cream

There is a special glass for Irish Coffe, but you don’t really need it. I start by dropping the sugar into the cup, then the coffee, stir in the whiskey and quickly top with the cream. Canned cream is perfect for rolling out a bunch of these at a party. The most important ingredients to get right are the coffee and the whiskey.

For Saint Patrick’s Day 2007 I brought in a bottle of Jameson to the office for a round of Coffees. We had a short assembly line going using 2 packets of “Sugar in the Raw”, 4 ounces of Starbuck’s House, 2 ounces of Jameson and topping with canned Whipped cream. We knocked down that bottle to 2 fingers in one pot of coffee.

There are a lot of variations on this drink. I’ve heard of replacing the whipped cream with Irish Cream which I will have to try soon. Most often varied is the whiskey of choice. Spider Robinson lists Stonebender’s Irish coffee as “God’s Blessing” and is based on Bushmills Black Bush which I have tried and enjoyed. The Buena Vista in San Francisco uses sugar cubes and Tullamore Dew.

I spent more than a couple hours playing Blackjack and drinking Irish coffee in Reno a few years ago. If you get a good one, you’ll know it.

Rob Roy

Rob Roy cocktail

The Rob Roy is basically a Manhattan made with Scotch whiskey. It is named for Robert Roy MacGregor.

I don’t have my own recipe yet, but I will get one together after some experimentation. I think that finding the right ingredients for me will take some thought. Many of the Scotch whiskeys that I would choose are “done”. The idea of using Vermouth and bitters to “enhance” a scotch seems like using neon spray paint to enhance the David. Maybe that’s just the single-malts talking again.

I think I will try Scotch that is generally available, one that could take the new flavors as an addition instead of grafitti. Johnny Walker Red or Black are used commonly but I try to be different, so maybe Glenfiddich. Using Johnny Walker Green seems like a case of subtraction by addition, but anything is possible. I won’t know until I try. A lowland single malt Scotch would be from the same neighborhood as Rob Roy himself, though bitters and Vermouth aren’t exactly local.

The IBA describes it this way:

  • 4.5 cl Scotch whisky
  • 2.5 cl Sweet vermouth
  • Dash Angostura bitters

Stirred over ice, strained into a chilled glass, garnished with a Maraschino cherry, and served straight up.The perfect uses equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. Dry, would be, as the name implies, made with only dry vermouth.