Irish Coffee - a cure all

Tis the season of hot port, mulled wine and hot whiskey, but the ultimate in these festive warming drinks, for me at least is the Irish coffee. Not only does it look gorgeous, it's taste is....well... bear with me... imagine you've been outside walking on  a very frosty day, your toes and fingertips are frozen -eventually you come indoors, you pop on a pair of fluffy socks, settle your chilled bones into your favourite arm chair, adjacent to a roaring fire. You are instantly soothed....that is what an Irish coffee tastes like.
A man called Joe Sheridan is credited with the conception of the Irish coffee, in the 1940's. In an effort to warm up some very cold American passengers from a cross atlantic flight into Shannon Airport he decided to add whiskey to the coffee to defrost them -thanks Joe!

There are a few simple hints and tips to bear in mind when it comes to executing this Winter wonder;

  • Put the kettle on
  • Next begin by very gently whipping your cream. I find it best to use the cream bottle as you need to pour the cream onto the coffee. So, pour out about a third depending on how many you're serving, so that you have room for the cream to expand. Now shake the bottle -this is a great bingo wings prevention exercise too! Be careful -  a mistake people often make is to whip the hell out of the cream thinking that this will stop it from sinking down into the coffee. What you want is lightly whipped cream, almost not whipped really, you need to be able to pour it fairly easily out of the bottle. If you over do it just add some of the unwhipped cream and give it a little shake to loosen it up.
  • Now make your coffee -it has to be French press. Instant is out!
  • Warm your glasses with hot water- you can use wine glasses or tumblers -as you prefer.
  • Take a mug fill it with hot water and pop a dessert spoon in.
  • Empty your glasses, add sugar 1 -1 & 1/2 tspns as per your taste, pour some hot coffee on and stir to dissolve sugar.
  • Add a measure (or 2!) of whiskey - something Irish like Powers, Bushmills or Jameson.
  • Top up the glass with coffee leaving about 1cm or less for your cream.
  • Now pour the cream over the back of the hot spoon onto your coffee. Refresh the spoon in the hot water between coffees.
  • Finish with some dark chocolate shavings or a sprinkle of cocoa.