Starring: The Classic Irish Coffee & The modern Alchemist (with apples, allspice and everything nice)
So here we are in the middle of winter. Christmas decorations are coming down. Resolutions are being made and goals are being set. The sun is going down early and we’re all getting back to our normal routines (whatever normal means these days). There is work to be done. But no one can work all the time. So what better way to relax and unwind than enjoying some seasonally appropriate cocktails?
This month we are whipping up something warm boozy (The classic Irish Coffee) and something crisp and savory (The modern Alchemist). We will be learning all about the Irish Coffee and it’s history, how to make it and gaining some new techniques that can be used throughout your craft cocktail journey. Along side our version of "January" with the crisp and seasonal Alchemist. Join us, will you?
Let's dive right in to some brief history and what you can get excited about within this month's kit:
The Irish have been distilling since the 12th century and were the first to bring this process to Europe. The work “whiskey” has gaelic roots and roughly translates to “water of life”. The process of making Irish Whiskey is regulated by a government entity. They are rightfully proud of their product and make sure that all products claiming to be Irish Whiskey meet high standards. Irish whiskey is different than Scotch mainly in the malting process. Irish Whiskey rarely uses peat which means Irish Whiskey doesn’t have smokey, medicinal characteristics often associated with Scotch.
Along with this rich history of whiskey is the warm and inviting culture of the Irish. And here begins the story behind Irish Coffee as we know it. It is nearly impossible to believe that people had never put whiskey in their coffee until the 1940s. I’d say that’s a ridiculous idea. But that isn’t what we are talking about. We are talking about the cocktail known as Irish Coffee.
Irish Coffee was created in the winter of 1943 at Foynes Port near Limerick, Ireland. Foynes was a stopover for transatlantic flights. At this time, flights often carried political and Hollywood figures. The airbase was used for flights to refuel. Due to inclimate weather passengers frequently needed to stay for the night so a new restaurant was created to cater to the fancy pants clientele. One evening, a flight had to turn back to Foynes mid way through its journey. Chef Joe Sheridan, feeling empathy for the delayed, cold and weary passengers decided to whip up something special for them to drink. It is said that a hush fell on the crowd as they enjoyed this delectable libation. The name of the drink supposedly came from the following exchange:
"Hey Buddy," said a surprised American passenger, "is this Brazilian coffee?" "No," said Joe, "that's Irish Coffee."
Irish Coffee became a huge success and an airport specialty. After WWII, Irish Coffee was introduced to the United States, by travel writer, Stanton Delaplane. Delaplane proposed the drink to the owner of the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco, Jack Koeppler. Koeppler had trouble recreating the beverage so he traveled to the source. Koeppler met with Joe Sheridan to learn the correct way to make an Irish Coffee. Sheridan showed him the ropes and offered this recipe:
Cream - Rich as an Irish Brogue
Coffee - Strong as a Friendly Hand
Sugar - Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue
Whiskey - Smooth as the Wit of the Land
So in 1952 Jack Koeppler took the drink back to the Buena Vista and has been serving Irish Coffees ever since. On a regular day the Buena Vista serves around 2,000 Irish Coffees to tourists and locals each day. So it is fair to say that Jack Koeppler is largely responsible for the drinks' widespread popularity in the U.S.
Go ahead and sign up for your Commons Kit Membership before January 20th and we'll share way more :)
(Each Kit Serves 8)
Allspice Dram: Allspice dram is a liqueur flavored with allspice berries. It's also known as pimento dram, because allspice is a berry from the pimento tree. This is made by hand in limited quantities specifically for a Commons Kits. You will be using it for the modern cocktail featured in this month’s kit.
Apple Cordial Get Down: Made to mimic the flavors of apple butter, this cordial is the wintery backbone of the modern cocktail featured in this months kit. Made by my own two hands from organically grown apples, fresh pressed cider, spices and love.
Fresh Ground Coffee: You can’t have an Irish Coffee without some damn good coffee. We've selected a strong and rich coffee profile from one of our favorite local Atlanta roasters (Portrait Coffee) to pair perfectly with this month's recipes.
Apple Crisps: Thinly sliced, soaked in lemon and meticulously dehydrated. This crisp is the perfect garnish for your modern cocktail.
Whole Nutmeg: to add aroma & garnish to your Irish Coffee
Brown Sugar Cubes: to keep things sexy and traditional in your Irish Coffee
Nutmeg Grater: We will use it to finish our Irish Coffee off with class, but it will be a handy staple in your tool kit moving forward. This little guy can also be used for zesting citrus, shaving ice and grating all kinds of spice, taking your cocktail game to the next level.
Japanese Style Jigger: Completely and utterly indispensable. This jigger is used to measure your pours, of course. If you’re not measuring, you’re not doing it right. One of the qualities of a great bartender is consistency. Without measuring you can’t have consistency. So let’s get to some measuring!
Whipping Cream (Shelf Stable): This stuff is very cool (pun intended). Speaking of - it needs to chill before use so make sure you pop it in the fridge 6 hours before you plan to make your cocktails!
How to make whipped cream in a shaker (will also apply to some egg white driven drinks) | How to shake. How long to shake. How to tell when the cream has been “whipped”.
How to measure ingredients | We will discuss why consistency is important to crafting cocktails and honing your skills.
How to properly use a bar spoon & a mixing glass | Learn how to stir a cocktail. We will also cover some alternative options for bar spoons and mixing glasses.
How to peel citrus | The reasons why you shake. What types of cocktails you should shake. Techniques and tips on form and ice usage.
Classic cocktails are classics for a reason. They have stood the test of time, are accessible, and are perfect in their simplicity. For these reasons, we are very excited that the Irish Coffee is our featured classic for our January Commons Kit. We'll call it the perfect cocktail comedown from this holiday season. And for those of you who prefer a cold beverage no matter what the temperature is outside, we have a featured cocktail for you too - hold onto your apple loving pants.
You’re well on your way to a lovely craft cocktail and some knowledge that will serve you well on your bartending journey — now go get yourself a Commons Kit membership or one time kit and let's get mixing!
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