Like many cocktails, the origins of the Irish coffee are as cloudy as the delectable beverage itself. While coffee cocktails served with a dollop of whipped cream were staples of Viennese coffee houses in the 1800s, multiple establishments lay claim to the Irish coffee as we know it today.
One travel writer claims to have introduced it to the United States in the 1950s after first trying it at Shannon Airport in the Republic of Ireland. A man named Joe Sheridan, head chef at a restaurant and coffee shop at the Foynes Airbase during WWII, has been credited as having greeted passengers with a drop of whiskey in their coffee as they arrived. Another rumoured origin story also comes from the war: hotelier Joseph Jackson of county Donegal, fighting at the front, is said to have made Irish coffee to help keep himself and his fellow soldiers awake through the night when the Germans attacked.
Wherever it comes from, today Irish coffee is a weekend brunch staple. Years ago, it was hard for vegans or lactose intolerants to enjoy this Saturday morning treat, but as popular brands shift towards the production of more dairy-free options, today there are plenty of (perhaps even more delicious) alternatives for whipping up an Irish coffee.
Our favourites: Baileys Almande, an almond milk version of the brand’s classic liqueur, and coconut milk whipped cream. This can be found in most grocery stores but it’s also a easy to make your own; we love this recipe from the Minimalist Baker. The fluffiness and sweetness of coconut softens the kick of whiskey, and we’re a big fan of mix-and-matching dairy alternatives; here, coconut and almond work together to make this cocktail complex and layered, especially as the whipped cream begins to melt.
Another tip: while we love a standard Irish coffee, here at KHACHILIFE, we’re all about that luxury lifestyle and kicking things up a notch. Forgo drip coffee for a pour-over variety or, our personal favourite, a rich Americano. Make it a little stronger than you normally would to maintain that rich espresso flavour even after you’ve added cream and alcohol.
Ingredients & Method
1.5 oz Baileys Almande
1.5 oz whiskey
Coconut whipped cream
Cinnamon or chocolate shavings for garnish
1. Make an Americano as you normally would by adding water to your espresso. Be sure to only leave the mug (preferably a clear one) about 1/3 empty.
2. Add Baileys Almande and the whiskey of your choice. Stir well.
3. Top with a generous dollop of coconut whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon or a scattering of chocolate shavings.