In 2004 my wife and I took a trip to San Fransisco, we were going to be there for four days and planned a nice vacation. We went to Alcatraz, took a ride on the trolley hung out on the wharf and ate lots of great food. MY uncle told me of a place down by the wharf that served the best Irish coffee he had ever had and recommended that I get one while I was in town. The place was called The Buena Vista and seemed to be a local landmark of sorts. Amanda and I went there for breakfast and tried one of these magnificent coffee's. The Bartender had glasses lined up the whole length of the bar and was launching sugar cubes with a marksman's precision 15 and 20 feet down the bar and hit the glasses with every shot. A little coffee, a shot of Irish whiskey and a dollop of lightly whipped heavy cream and he was done. Each one taking him about 10 seconds to make. Everyday after that we went back once or twice a day to have a coffee and some of their sourdough bread. That was when I first fell in love with the Irish Coffee, since then I have ordered Irish coffee at a restaurant or bar and been disappointed every time. Nobody seems to get it right, whether its using canned spray cream, or adding creme de mint they never get it, as right, as The Buena Vista.
I have made many Irish coffee's at home and have enjoyed them done the way I like them, The Buena Vista way. It really is a simple drink, sugar, coffee, whiskey, cream, those are items that I have in my house all the time. During the colder months here in Minnesota I enjoy a lot of different hot drinks but the Irish Coffee is by far my favorite. So I started wondering if there was any way to improve on an already great recipe. Obviously using quality ingredients was the easiest thing to do, but what if I changed one of the ingredients. With all the different types of sweeteners out on the market these days I started wondering if I couldn't find something better than sugar cubes.
So I thought I would set up a taste test. For this test I picked four types of sugar that I had in the cupboard, regular sugar, light brown sugar, cane syrup and wildflower honey. I was expecting each one to taste a little different but was shocked at how different each one was. The regular sugar was good but allowed a little bit of a bite from the Irish Whiskey to come through. The brown sugar mellowed the bite and added more of a Carmel flavor to the coffee. The cane syrup was by far my favorite it mellowed the whiskey and added an almost smooth butter toffee flavor. The honey was really good as well and if you love honey you would love this. The honey flavor really shines while allowing the whiskey to still be the star. The best part was that I got to drink all four of these. If you have ever had Irish Coffee or just want to try them I would suggest trying this yourself and finding out which type you would enjoy the best.
My New Favorite Irish Coffee
1 tablespoon Cane sugar syrup
1 ounce good quality Irish Whiskey ( I prefer Redbreast)
4-6 ounces coffee depending on what type of glass you use
lightly whipped heavy cream
When you whip your cream, don't let it get to thick you want to be able to pour it over the coffee so that it covers the drink evenly.