Irish Coffee Season is Here!

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Irish coffee season is upon us! That basically means it’s perfectly acceptable to drink whiskey in the morning, as long as you are adding it to coffee and whipped cream. It’s a tradition that hearkens back to the days of the Colonial times and the Wild Wild West, when men were men and women had no rights. Sorry about that part, ladies, but thanks to the freedom we all share, we can once again drink whiskey whenever we want. (Excepting of course when you are operating motor vehicles or talking about politics – ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR).

Actually the “origin” of the Irish coffee is somewhat debated. However, when I was in country, we had a bus tour and the man driving was lovely. He told us that it was a surplus of Irish cream that lead to this “tradition”. To get rid of it they served the excess cream to American tourists with coffee and whiskey. And yet another fake Irish-American novelty was born! Kind of like St. Patrick’s Day, where we Americans took a religious holiday, celebrating a saint, and made it into a night of green beer and drunken debauchery. Ah, America, making Ireland great again! Or more like, making Ireland into something it never was, based entirely on stereotypes and myth. One need look no further than McDonald’s (clearly a “mick” Irish business) Shamrock Shake. St. Patrick brought whiskey and whipped cream to coffee, banished the snakes from Ireland, added shamrocks to milk shakes and made it okay for everyone to binge drink at least one day a year.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Simpsons quotes:

Ginger (Ned’s Vegas Wife): “You think you can Irish up this coffee for me?

Ned Flanders: “Oops, watch the swears, honeybear. We don’t use the I-word in this house.”

Anyway, let’s get onto my favorite recipe for an Irish coffee.

Among my Irish family I have become well-known for my amazing Irished-up coffees. And I have one secret: ADD MORE WHISKEY. Even if they don’t like it, by the time they finish their mood is transformed and they love you for it. In all seriousness, the better prescription is actually to fit the coffee to the drinker. It just so happens to be that “more whiskey” is the perfect speed for my family.

The base of the drink is the same for all, but you can embellish and adapt to everyone’s specific tastes. Wine charms would come in handy here. Here’s a freebie: Personalized Irish coffee charms. Amazon, go.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Being asked to prepare Irish coffee for a group of people is no small responsibility. Combining two powerful substances like caffeine and alcohol requires a certain amount of experience. It’s a blessing and a curse to be selected for this task. If you do it well, you will have to do it for the rest of your life. And it goes without saying that to all of your willing victims you are now responsible for the rest of their day.

How to Make Perfect Irish Coffee


1 to 3 oz Jameson Irish whiskey

6 oz fresh brewed coffee

Whipped cream

Optional Ingredients:




Creme do Cacoa


Brew coffee. Pour whiskey into mug or fancy Irish coffee glass. I’m currently using a wine glass because I don’t have fancy drink ware. Add coffee to whiskey. Some in our family believe that you should heat or warm the liquor slightly. I used to do this, but now I skip the step because I find it no more effective than just adding MORE WHISKEY. Top with whipped cream. Yup, it’s that simple. However, the beauty is in the details…


Here’s how to diagnose the right Irish coffee for each of your guests.

The “I’ll do one”

This is the person this drink was made for. Start them light with 1 to 1.5 oz whiskey and a half ounce of one of the above liqueurs. You can mix them, for example, blending Amaretto and Kahlua. Never use all of them. It’s a flavor disaster. Whether they know it or not, everyone wants to taste the whiskey. No one in their right mind “does one Irish coffee”. They are looking for an excuse to get pissed. You need to escalate them slowly. Should they actually “do one more” (or two), you need to curb the liqueur nonsense and just ADD MORE WHISKEY. They will swear it’s exactly the same as the first coffee, so don’t try to convince them otherwise. They will also think you’re a magician.

The “Hell yeah!”

They are also looking for an excuse, but you need to take them in the opposite direction as above. Start them out with a healthy pour of whiskey, in the neighborhood of 2 to 3 oz. Make sure to dash in one of the liqueurs to set expectations that we will not be finishing the bottle before noon. This is pretty much the Irish coffee-drinker that I am, so I know it well. The strategy is to start them strong and ween them down to 1.5 to 2 oz for the next couple. Oh, and there will be more. They will drink this libation morning, afternoon and night if you let them. But don’t go replacing the liquor with liqueur because they will catch on to your con. Instead, decrease the amount of coffee you add to each slightly. The concentration will seem similar to them; and you can always use the excuse that you’re running out of coffee. That’s code for “go home and sleep it off ya lush!”

The Middler

For those who are neither out of their mind excited, nor partaking just to avoid hurting your feelings, you have to make a middling drink for a middling drinker. Add 1.5 oz of whiskey and hit them with a Kahlua and one other liqueur blend (one of those listed above). Watch to see how they respond to the encore round of Irish coffee. You will know then whether to escalate or de-escalate them. A middling response requires another middling drink.

I know this all seems very over-simplified, and probably pure comedy, but it’s not. I have observed this phenomenon time and time again. It never fails. In all things, tailoring the product to the consumer is the best policy.

If all else fails  JUST ADD MORE WHISKEY.

As always, don’t forget to take your Intox-Detox!

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Happy Holidays!