Irish coffee is one of those special occasion cocktails that rarely seems like the correct thing to order — but when it does, it hits the spot perfectly. Seeing as today is St. Patrick’s Day, the occasion seems to be upon us.
The real trouble is getting a good one. A simple coffee with whiskey added is no fun at all. It has to be perfectly sweetened, and the cream topper is critical. Ordering a quality Irish coffee is difficult. Making one at home is even tougher.
Bushmills, recognizing this dilemma, has come up with a bit of a solution, partnering with an independent Belfast coffee roaster called Root & Branch to create “a single-origin, microlot coffee in pursuit of the most exceptional Irish coffee, even seasoning the coffee beans in Bushmills whiskey casks.”
The distillery sent a sample of the coffee, a bottle of rack Bushmills, and instructions on its perfect Irish coffee recipe. I set myself to whipping one up (literally), and was reminded how enjoyable a glass of standard Bushmills is along the way.
Here’s the recipe… some comments follow at the end.
Bushmills “Real” Irish Coffee
2 oz. Bushmills Irish Whiskey
0.5 oz. brown sugar almond syrup
6 oz. Bushmills coffee
vanilla scented whipped cream
Build first three ingredients in a warm Irish coffee mug. Top with a generous dollop of vanilla scented whipped cream. Garnish with fresh grated orange zest. (I was short an orange so skipped the zest.)
To make brown sugar almond syrup:
2 cups Sugar in the Raw
1 cup water
1 tsp. almond extract
In a blender, combine sugar and water and blend until sugar is dissolved. Add extract and blend until incorporated.
To make vanilla scented whipped cream:
1 cup fresh whipping cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whip the cream until you get soft peaks. Add sugar and extract and whip until incorporated.
And so, is this the world’s best Irish coffee? I have to say it is quite delightful. The almond extract really changes the game (though the sugar never really dissolves into syrup when made in a blender, it does in hot coffee, so it doesn’t really matter), as does the dose of vanilla in the whipped cream. It’s a hard drink to put down — and better than any Irish coffee I’ve had in the wild, I have to admit.
If you have a spare half hour to make it and about 50 bucks for ingredients, I highly recommend mixing one up!