This Thanksgiving, we invite you to consider not freaking out the folks with homemade coffee shots of natural process single-origin monovariety sample roast from Costa Rica. The turkey is in the oven, the sides are almost ready, and there’s not enough space on the counter for your EK-43. Put away the scales, put down the ExtractMojo, and try this crowd pleaser instead: the Irish Coffee.
The Irish Coffee, invented at the Shannon Airport in the 1940s and brought to San Francisco soon thereafter by a journalist & booze enthusiast, is delicious, and pretty much the perfect drink for a coffee nerd to serve on Thanksgiving. It blends together your raging coffee obsession with sweet, unpretentious, merrymaking alcohol, creating an easy and accessible bridge between you and your patient family. The Irish Coffee is a staple drink in the World Coffee In Good Spirits coffee cocktail competition, where veteran bartenders and baristas apply their creative edge to the Irish Coffee recipe, and it should be part of any good coffee lover’s arsenal of drinks to make at home.
The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco is credited with popularizing the Irish Coffee in America, and today the place serves more than 2,000 Irish Coffees a day. Their original recipe will serve you as a solid baseline, and we’ve got a step by step guide from the website Pop Sugar, who sent a reporter to the cafe with an iPhone and a notepad (or something) and jotted down all the deets. The image below, taken from the Buena Vista website, illustrates how simple the beverage is to prepare.
And here’s the original Buena Vista recipe, as reported by PopSugar:
Two sugar cubes
4oz of brewed Peerless coffee
1.5oz of Tullamore Dew whiskey
1.5oz of whipped cream.
With the above recipe as a base, you can really go buck wild with your ingredient choices. Here are a few of our recommendations using interesting coffee and hooch.
Original Recipe: Peerless coffee
Bay Area Roots: Mr. Espresso Golden Gate Blend
Chic San Francisco: St. Frank Coffee Little Brother Blend
Presidio Nightcap: Wrecking Ball Gatomboya
Sleeping on the BART Back To Oakland: Blue Bottle Coffee Decaf Noir
Fancy: Equator Coffees Panama Hacienda La Esmeralada Geisha
Timely: Chromatic Coffee by Perfect Coffee
Cheekily Irish: Coffee Angel Ethiopia Wote
Original Recipe: Tullamore Dew
Foodie: Tullamore Dew 12 Year Special Reserve
Booze Nerd: Auchentoshan Three Wood (from Scotland, yes, but distilled in the Irish style)
Unapologetic Hipster: Old Crow
Broke Barista: Killbeggan
For sugar cubes:
When brewing coffee for this beverage, pretty much any option works just fine, from Grammy’s Mr. Coffee to the brewing travel kit you had the foresight to pack. When you apply your creativity and good taste, the options for Irish Coffee variations are endless. Why not dazzle your family with a fabulous Thanksgiving cocktail this holiday season? While you probably won’t ever knock Grammy out with your pour over skills, you can certainly knock her out with whiskey.
If you *do* bust out that AeroPress, check out our suggestions for Thanksgiving coffees.