Warm Up with Irish Coffee

Walking through a hail storm on St. Patrick's Day Eve has us craving Irish coffee. We're tempted to stop for one at a bar on the way home, but Irish coffee is one of the simplest hot toddies to make at home.

Irish coffee doesn't require any special ingredients and uses only one kind of liquor, often Tulamore Dew Irish whiskey. You might have everything you need to make this treat at home already: hot coffee, sugar or sugar cubes, whiskey, and cream whipped to soft peaks. Here's step-by-step instructions.

Keeping the cream floating neatly on top of the coffee is the one tricky of this drink. We've picked up two tricks for keeping the cream and coffee layers separated: putting sugar in the coffee and using cream close to its expiration date.

Do take the extra time to heat the glass with boiling water first and don't stir the cream into the coffee as you drink it. The difference in temperature between the cream and the coffee is part of the experience of this drink.

Irish coffee was invented at the Shannon Airport. San Francisco's Buena Vista Bar, at the end of the cable car line, brought Irish coffee recipe to the United States in 1952.

We don't have true Irish coffee cups, who has room for single use glassware. That doesn't stop us from serving Irish coffee at home. We use smallish coffee cups or the glasses we bought for soup shooters.

Check out this description of the drink from Joe Sheridan, creator of Irish coffee: "Cream as rich as an Irish brogue, coffee as strong as a friendly hand, sugar as sweet as the tongue of a rogue, and whiskey as smooth as the wit of the land.''

(Image: Bar tender at the Buena Vista by Jef 7)

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