Monday, February 1, 2010

Margie’s Kitchen in Boston: Valentine’s Day Special Brunch Drink – Irish Coffee

Photos by Lena
This year, 2010, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday and for this reason I am suggesting a menu for a Valentine’s Day Brunch. In my previous blogs I began with Crunchy French Toast, followed by Strawberries Romanoff. Now I am ready for the finale, Irish Coffee. I must admit that if it wasn’t for a trip to Ireland three years ago (Brad In the Kitchen and Sasha in the Kitchen were there, too), I would have never, ever, ever suggested any drink with whiskey. But a little roadside bar/ restaurant on the Ring of Kerry between Killorglin and Glenbeigh next to the Kerry Bog (Peat Bog) Museum, changed my opinion. Inside the venue were two women preparing Irish coffee for the tourists. Mind you, it was 10 in the morning. They had quite a production line that began with trays of glass mugs filled with some sort of syrupy-looking concoction, then they poured coffee over this mix and ended by pouring cream(with a bit of a head) on the top of the brew. After watching the expression on the faces of the tourists who drank the potion, I was enticed (by a fairy no doubt) to partake in the drink myself, even though I was dreading the taste of whiskey. I didn’t look precisely at how they achieved each step, but the final product was a piece of art ‒ on the bottom a syrupy swirl, then the dark, clear black coffee, and floating on the top was a beautiful creaming head. To optimize the pleasure of the drink one must drink through this cream, and I must tell you it was quite heavenly! It was so good that I even took my finger and swirled it around the empty glass to taste every last drop; this act of desperation coming from a woman whose favorite expression to her children when they were in a public place, “Don’t touch anything!”

So the challenge in preparing the drink in the USA, I thought, was only to make sure that I had all the ingredients in hand so that I could mimic the process I observed in Ireland. Most Irish coffee recipes call for a shot of good Irish whiskey*, two teaspoons of sugar, either brown or granulated (I used brown), whipping cream, and coffee. The cream should be whipped slightly.

So let’s begin:

Warm up the glass with warm/hot water and let it sit for a minute or two. I would suggest using a tempered-type glass. Pour out the water add the sugar and whiskey, stir and let the sugar dissolve. Then add coffee, followed by the whipped cream, which is to be poured over a large spoon placed over the glass (concave side up). Unfortunately, none of my recipes specify amounts of coffee or cream, and my first attempt looked more like a milkshake.

On my second attempt, I poured less coffee (½ cup) and just placed the head of the cream gently on top of coffee mix. It was a bit better looking but not what I saw in Ireland. As for taste, the milkshake version was quite good, and my second take did not have enough cream; neither compared to the brew I had in Ireland. Maybe I needed to add some fairy dust!

SOS to Bryan’s Kitchen in Dublin: Can you ask any of your Irish sources for tips on the art of making Irish Coffee?

*Bushmills and Jameson Brands.



  1. Looks and sounds wonderful. Such a great account of the Irish coffe in Ireland, too :)

  2. I'm game! Now I just have to get my coffee-maker valentine to make it:-).
    Nice photos Lena.


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