Created by Irish chef Joseph Sheridan, Irish coffee(Caife Gaelach) was traditionally given to travelers as a warm-up drink in the early twentieth century. It's believed that Joseph Sheridan originally created this drink using Paddy from the County Cork distillery. Delicious and simple to make, it comes as no surprise that this coffee has retained its popularity as a favorite warm-up or social coffee beverage.
Irish coffee consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and thick (not whipped) cream. Here's a recipe for making a traditional Irish coffee:
1 cup hot coffee
1 ½ oz Irish whiskey such as Paddy, Bushmills, or Jamesons
1 TB sugar
Stir together coffee, whiskey, and sugar in a clear, stemmed mug. Insert a cool spoon into the coffee and pour heavy cream over the back of the back of the spoon until it reaches the top of the mug. (Pour carefully and you'll wind up with crystal clear coffee that's topped with a distinct layer of cream.) Do not stir after cream is added. To drink, sip through the cream.
For less traditional Irish coffee recipes, substitute Jim Beam or Jack Daniels for Irish whiskey and top with a generous dollop of whipping cream, or forego the whiskey and cream altogether and add a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream instead. (Tip: Irish cream is lower proof than whiskey, making it a good alternative for those who are prone to tipsiness or who enjoy a smoother taste.)
Perfect for after dinner cocktails, Irish coffee is especially appealing when served in Irish coffee mugs. To present a well-received gift for the coffee lover on your list, assemble an Irish coffee basket complete with mugs, Irish whiskey, and a pound of gourmet beans.