The perfect end to the perfect day

There’s no other nationality that knows how to produce that unique taste as the Irish do when creating a hot and warm Irish coffee. Imitations exist, though there’s something very special about the temptation that hits the tongue led on by the aroma of coffee which lies beneath that thick bed of double cream.

Although people worldwide have tried different versions, the traditional Irish coffee is always the best, though avoid serving this to anyone who cannot drink alcohol. The alcohol that seeps into the coffee taste is delicious. 

The ingredients of a great Irish coffee include freshly made coffee, and it’s a good idea to use a ground coffee that you are particularly fond of. If you are unfamiliar with good ground coffee, a mixture of Mocha and Kenya is a good rich mix which goes very well with the Irish whiskey.

From all the corners of the world, the tastes mingle and give that flavor which is temptingly delicious. You will need a good quality Irish whiskey such as Jameson, rather than a vintage whiskey which would be wasted in a mix and is usually drunk for the pure enjoyment of the whiskey itself. Only a very small quantity will be used for the Irish coffee, so be aware that a small bottle goes a long way. Although people have different preferences, brown sugar as opposed to white is the best choice as this sweetens without making the drink taste sickly. 

Be aware that you will also need a carton of double cream.

The glasses required should be bulbous, giving plenty of room for the coffee, and have a nice long stem to avoid burning fingers. You will also need a tablespoon. Alternatively, you can purchase special Irish coffee glasses if you think that these will be used frequently. These incorporate a handle so are much easier to lift without fear of burning the hands.

The technique

You may need to practice your technique for making Irish coffee because it takes a while before you get it perfect. For practice, you can try without the whiskey. 

Add a teaspoon of brown sugar to the chosen glass and leave the teaspoon within the glass. This helps to absorb the heat of the coffee. Pour the coffee into the glass. At this stage you would normally add the alcohol, though since this is only a practice, no alcohol is added. Stir the coffee to ensure that the sugar is dissolved. 

Pour the cream into a jug without whipping it. Double cream is the perfect thickness and although some enjoy the over indulgence of whipped cream simply scooped onto the coffee, this is not the Irish way. The coffee will now have cooled sufficiently to take the teaspoon out of the glass. Stir the coffee again, though this time with the tablespoon and turn the tablespoon face downward so that the back of the spoon is held level with the top of the coffee. 

The stirring motion allows the coffee to turn in the glass. Quickly take the cream and pour it gently over the back of the spoon so that it floats on the top of the coffee. Be careful not to jerk the spoon as this will cause the cream to sink in places which will spoil the overall effect. 

Once you have perfected the art of making Irish coffee without the “Irish” try your hand at the real thing, including the alcohol just before stirring the coffee with the tablespoon. Pour the cream to just over a quarter of an inch to give a good head. When you have sufficient cream on the coffee it looks just like a glass of Guinness with a froth and that’s a familiar look to all Irish drinkers. 

The difference between the Irish coffee and that traditional Guiness is of course in the taste and the warmth. For a cold winter evening, Irish coffee is the perfect after dinner drink. Serve the glass placed on an appropriate saucer and to stop the glass from slipping, use a small paper doily. Top off the saucer with an after dinner mint and you have the perfect Irish Coffee serving for a guest. 

One tip is that if you are making several, you need to work fairly quickly. Have the glasses set up ready and everything that you need close at hand to ensure that all guests get a great warm Irish coffee and are not kept waiting too long. They will thank you for it.