Cocktail Party

Brown Buttered Irish Coffee

March  9, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

Irish Coffee is a younger drink by cocktail standards. It isn't a Prohibition-era darling, or pulled from an iconic old manual, but was created on the fly out of accidental necessity in the 1940s by Joe Sheridan, chef at the Flying Boat restaurant at the Foynes Airport in Limerick, Ireland.

On one particularly stormy, freezing night, the restaurant welcomed a crowd of stranded airplane passengers whose New York-bound flight was grounded due to bad weather (if there’s anything consistent about Ireland, aside from the excellent whiskey and iconic wit, it's the weather). Hoping to ease flight-delay tensions, Sheridan used what he had on hand to whip up a warm, comforting whiskey and coffee drink to soothe those passengers. The drink got its name from him, famously, yelling down the bar “It’s Irish coffee!” in response to a guest demanding to know if the drink was Brazilian. Years later, Sheridan was brought to the United States to recreate the drink at the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, where he settled in and worked for years to come.

Now, I might be about to start a fight here, but Irish Coffees made in the U.S. are typically…not good. With rare exceptions (looking at you, Dead Rabbit) almost every iteration I've had, and I have had many, was downright bad. It's always thin, bitter, too boozy (or not boozy enough), too sweet (or not sweet enough), and often topped with a cheap whiskey and thrown into a burnt, overly acidic brew. To be fair, it isn't supposed to be the most complex, magical concoction you've ever had—it's a workhorse of a drink, affectionately splashed into a glass at a rapid-fire speed and dolloped with cream—but that doesn't mean it shouldn't also be an actual delight to sip on, at a bar or at home.

Thus, my Hot Buttered Irish Coffee has entered the chat: A new take that is rich but not cloying; decadent but dry and balanced. It's playful, delicious, and feels like a boozy hug—quite possibly what Irish Coffee dreams are made of. —Joanna Carpenter

What You'll Need
  • For the brown butter-washed whiskey:
  • 8 ounces J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey
  • 4 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • For the Irish coffee:
  • 1 1/2 ounces brown butter-washed J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce maple syrup
  • 1 ounce Coco Lopez coconut cream
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • fresh hot coffee, to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick, to garnish
  1. Make the brown butter-washed whiskey: Pour whiskey into heat safe, sealable container; in a small saucepan on medium heat, melt butter until it begins to brown; remove from heat and whisk into whiskey; seal and freeze for 1 to 2 hours or until all of the solids separate; skim off the top layer of solids; using a coffee filter or cheesecloth, filter whiskey into fresh container and seal; store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  2. Make the Irish Coffee: Add whiskey, maple syrup, sea salt, and coconut cream to a heat-safe glass or mug; slowly pour coffee in to fill. Gently stir to fully mix, about 30 seconds. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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