Irish Coffee

Peggy’s Irish Coffee recipe is strong and bracing, with the flavors of the coffee and whiskey offset by sugar cubes and a thick layer of heavy cream.

Glass mug of Irish coffee with cream on top

A Post Written by Peggy Abood

Maureen and I have always felt a special kinship to Saint Patrick’s Day which must have originated with birth when our 100% Lebanese parents gave each of their daughters Irish sounding names.

And it didn’t end there: when Camille and Maryalice sent us each off to Saint Mary’s for college they were setting us down a very particular path resulting in many things, including this: a very high proportion of our lifelong friends would be the beautiful daughters of Ireland, who are fixtures of the school.

Jameson Irish Whiskey bottle

Jameson Irish Whiskey with a jigger

Two sugar cubes in glass mug for Irish Coffee

Which brings me to our next drinks installment, just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. Like most drinks with some age on them, there’s controversy over the origins of the drink. Some insist it was created by some enterprising workers at the Shannon Airport trying to keep overseas passengers warm.

Others claim Irish Coffee was invented the long-closed Dolphin bar in Dublin. In any case, there’s no argument that the drink was introduced to the US through a columnist for the New York Herald Tribune. The year was 1948, the drink’s author, the wonderfully named Clementine Paddleford.

We’ve had the privilege of paging through vintage copies of her cookbooks – if you ever get your hands on one at a garage sale or on a vintage book site like alibris.com, don’t hesitate. Paddleford was known most especially for her no nonsense style and celebration of the home cook.

Cream and a whisk in a glass bowl

Irish coffee with Jameson whiskey

We’ll be brewing up Irish Coffee for anyone at our table on March 17th, with a toast to Irish sisters everywhere.

  • 2 cubes sugar (or 2 teaspoons granulated sugar)
  • 4 oz. strong brewed coffee, hot
  • 1.5 oz. Irish whiskey (such as Old Bushmill’s or Jamesons)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, cold
  1. Fill a glass goblet with hot water to heat it up, then dump out the water.

  2. Drop in the two sugar cubes or granulated sugar.

  3. Pour the strong, hot coffee over the sugar cubes, to fill about 3/4 of the glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and mixed.

  4. Add 1 ½ oz Irish whiskey (Old Bushmill’s, Jamesons) with a bit of room left in the glass for the cream.

  5. Using a whisk, lightly whip heavy whipping cream in a small bowl until the cream is slightly thickened. Take care not to over whip (we’re not going for whipped cream). Turn a spoon upside down (bowl of the spoon facing down), and pour the thickened cream down the back of the spoon, layering onto the top of the coffee. Don’t stir the cream into the coffee, to keep the layers visible. Serve immediately.

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