Monday, April 14, 2014

The Dead Rabbit's Irish Coffee

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

It’s rumored that Irish coffee was invented in the 1940’s as a curative against the cold and damp of Ireland’s westernmost reaches.  Joe Sheridan was the barman at the Shannon Airport bar where the lumbering, Pan Am flying boats from America would disembark after a rough ride across the pond.   It’s highly plausible that the combination of steaming hot coffee, warming Irish Whiskey, thickly whipped Irish cream (higher butterfat content than normal cream) and dark brown sugar would have found its way into the bellies of most travelers.  Anyone who traveled to fragment of Ireland during the early days of commercial air travel would have clamored over themselves to warm up their bones with a drink.  Any drink after a jarring plane trip during these early halcyon days of air travel.

I think drinking Irish whiskey woven into an Irish Coffee when imbibed in the morning may make the remainder of the trip a boozy affair indeed.  An Irish Coffee is always a fine way to begin a trip to the far-away continent of Europe.  You don’t need a flying boat for your next Irish Coffee!

Knappogue Castle is a lovely Irish Whiskey that I’m hoping you’ll be trying before too long.  It’s a single malt Irish Whiskey, a luxurious way to an end if you’re mixing it into an Irish Coffee.  Knappogue Castle comes in three varieties; one- the blazingly delicious 12 year old version is just gorgeous in an Irish Coffee.  The butter notes from the cask is achingly delicious when woven with good black coffee, dark brown sugar, loosely whipped cream and the essential scraping of nutmeg.  I’m not just advocating that you go to your store and actually ask for an expensive bottle of Irish Whiskey for your Irish Coffee, I’m demanding it.  Keep in mind, life is short and a bottle of Knappogue 12 year will enhance and enrich your experience.  It’s important in my opinion to drink as well as you are able to afford.  There is nothing for me at least; more disappointing than individuals who have never tried Knappogue Castle and they complain about the price, yet they drink Scotch Whiskey that costs several times as much.  It’s truly up to you. 

I think an Irish Coffee with Knappogue Castle is memorable, because of the quality of the ingredients. 

Knappogue Castle also comes in a Sherry Cask finished 16 year- single malt Irish Whiskey as well as the gorgeous Twin Wood, 14 year old expression.  I might not dilute them into an Irish Coffee, but if you want to, by all means, please do so.

The Dead Rabbit, located down on Front Street in New York City is my choice for the best (at least the most authentic) Irish Coffee that I’ve enjoyed in recent memory. Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarr co-owners of the Dead Rabbit (named after the Dead Rabbits, a street gang from the days of yore) will make you an Irish Coffee that is so good, you’ll think it was the best you’ve ever imbibed. 

Sure, I had a Café Espana in Portland, Maine up at Hunt and Alpine that was electrifyingly good, but the one at the Dead Rabbit took my attention by its simplicity and grace.  Thank you.

Now I cannot tell you which Irish Whiskey to use in your Irish Coffee, but I must street that the quality of the coffee is only superseded by the high butterfat content of the whipping cream.  It’s essential to buy something organic and heavy in nature. 

If you are using whipping the cream you better not ever think about buying that stuff in a can.  Throw it out now.  Don’t do it.  NO.

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarr will find you. 

Whip your own cream with the best heavy whipping cream you can buy.  That is a non-negotiable.
Your Irish Whiskey for this salubrious slurp is up to you, but I’d make sure to use Knappogue Castle 12 year.
Dark Brown Sugar?  Absolutely.

The Irish Coffee
Really good Irish Whiskey- like Knappogue Castle 12 year
6 oz. hot coffee- it better not be decaf…
3 – 4 oz. softly whipped cream, you’re not making butter-cream icing for a cake, whip only to very soft peaks, no more
1 tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar – Essential.  Something happens with the sugar and the whipped cream. I cannot explain it, but without sugar the cream just melts into the coffee and your drink is ruined!

Preheat a glass mug with boiling hot water.. throw out when hot
Add the Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey to the preheated mug
Add the hot coffee
Add the sugar
Gently spoon the whipped cream on top…

Put a straw through the cream and sip up from the bottom

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

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