On St Patrick’s Day, everybody has a touch of the Irish in them!
Granted, the day has devolved (in many areas, including my own college-anchored town) into an excuse to drink watered-down, green-tinted beer for a ridiculously long time. It’ll be interesting to see if that is at all curbed by March 17 falling on a Sunday this year, but I have my doubts.
As most folks know, St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to the pagan Irish. Though we think of green as the natural color for St Patrick’s Day, originally the color most associated with him was blue. But (probably) because the story goes he used a shamrock to teach the idea of the trinity, so more and more people took to wearing shamrocks on his feast day, and it just sort of took off from there.
While beer, especially Guinness, is a more common drink for St Paddy’s Day (and, yes, it is spelled with d’s, not t’s, in deference to the Irish spelling of Pádraig), Irish whiskey is pretty popular, too.
One of the most excellent ways to drink Irish whiskey (if you don’t fancy it straight), is in the popular after dinner treat: Irish Coffee.
To see an really impressive way to make Irish Coffee en masse, check out this How to Make Irish Coffee video courtesy of Concannon Irish Whiskey.
Some recipes for Irish Coffee I’ve seen call for only the whiskey and the coffee–no sugar, no cream. That just makes me shudder. In fact, after making one like that (but with the sugar cubes) it was still too bitter for my liking. I like my coffee flavored and sweet, with or without the alcohol, so here’s my take on this classic.
Sweet Irish Coffee
3 Sugar Cubes
4 oz Coffee, brewed strong
1 oz Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz Chocolate Liqueur
1 spoonful Vanilla Ice Cream
Prepare your Irish Coffee glass by filling it with hot water as the coffee brews. When the coffee is ready, pour out the water and add the sugar cubes and coffee to the mug, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the Irish whiskey and chocolate liqueur and top with a spoonful of ice cream.
Our local ice cream shop serves an affogato–a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of their sweet cream ice cream–which served as a partial inspiration for today’s twist on an old stand-by. Whipping heavy cream isn’t particularly difficult, but I had some lactose-free Breyers vanilla in the freezer, so I thought I’d give it a try as a substitute. For the whiskey I used Concannon Irish Whiskey (that I reviewed on Tuesday) and for the chocolate liqueur I, of course, used Godiva. The resulting drink is still a strong Irish Coffee but with a sweeter edge making it perfect for after a meal.
I had to search my local Cost Plus World Market to find where they’d hidden the Irish Coffee glasses, and the smallest I could find actually hold 8 oz, but we’ll just let that slide, right? The reason for pre-warming the glass is two-fold. First, just like chilling a glass for a cold drink, it helps the drink maintain its temperature. Second, coffee is very hot and while most coffee mugs can stand it, some of your more delicate glassware is not as tough and adding hot coffee to cold glass could lead to some bad breaks.
If you do choose to go out to your favorite watering hole this Sunday, make sure you have a designated driver or the number of a cab company handy. A DUI would sure put a damper on your day!