January 25 – Irish Coffee Day
I’m really loving all of these January days. The cold weather brings out all of the national food days involving yummy, warm alcoholic drinks 🙂 Being, firstly, an American, and secondly, an American who doesn’t drink a whole lot and likes really sweet liquors most “real” drinkers turn up their noses at, I always thought an Irish Coffee consisted of putting Bailey’s Irish Creme into your cup of coffee. I mean, that sounded delicious enough! And with just enough buzz to get a lightweight like me going.
Of course, like the inexperienced foodie who thinks all Asian cuisine just needs that extra packet of soy sauce, I learned the error of my ways when I actually visited Ireland and ordered the drink. What I got instead was what a real Irish Coffee should be–coffee, with a tiny bit of cream and brown sugar, and a big heaping shot of true Irish Whiskey. That certainly wakes you up in the morning! (And, though to say so is racist, I learned that anything turned “Irish” means there’s a shot of whiskey in it. Go figure.)
The modern form of Irish Coffee has only been around since the 1940s, and came to America in 1952, but as the Hot Toddy and the Hot Buttered Rum display, people have been putting alcohol into their hot drinks to stay warm in the winter for as long as…well, as long as people have been cold, basically. The proper way to drink the coffee is to float the cream on top of the coffee, whiskey, and sugar mixture, then drink the coffee through the cream (no straws allowed!) When done traditionally, the Irish Coffee is a highly elevated drink…much moreso than dumping some Bailey’s into my Maxwell House in the morning!
One of the best places in New York to enjoy an Irish Coffee is Keens Steak House: high quality food, high quality atmosphere, and high quality drinks. They make their Irish Coffee with only the best Irish whiskey, which is warmed to best mix with the hot coffee and brown sugar. And in case you stil doubt the will of the Irish, Keens has been making their coffee the same way for over a century, so you know it’s a tested and time-honored tradition.
Keens Steak House
72 W 36th St (between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
“This cup ‘o joe with a kick has been prepared at the bar for over a century. A heated glass is filled with hot coffee, sugar, Jameson Irish whiskey, and finished with a decadent dollop of fresh whipped cream.”–Delish.com
“Lord knows I didn’t need ANOTHER reason to love Keen’s, but I found one: The Irish Coffee is absolutely fabulous. My wife, who is Belgian, has always wondered why she couldn’t find a good Irish Coffee in NY. By good, she simply means: Fresh Whipped Cream, Dark Coffee, and WARMED whiskey. . Keens takes pride in making theirs (as they do with everything) and they nail it. What could be nicer after a great steak by the fire?”–Chowhound.com