My Adventures with
Irish Coffee
by Donald Ray Burger

I have had a long-time love affair with San Francisco. Before my first visit I researched all the "must see" sights. A restaurant/bar at the end of the Powell cable car line got high marks. The place is called Buena Vista and I have never failed to visit it when I am in the City. I highly recommend the eggs for breakfast. They come with great potatoes and sourdough toast. And I also recommend ordering a world famous Irish Coffee to start the meal and another to finish it. The Buena Vista claims to be the first place in the United States to serve Irish Coffee. And a first class Irish Coffee it is. After I tasted one I made it my task to keep ordering them until I had figured out how to duplicate them at home. And, every time I return to San Francisco, I always take a refresher course to make sure my version is up to snuff.

What makes Irish Coffee different from any other alcoholic drink is the multiple tastes that come at the same time with each gulp. You get sweetness from the sugar, heat from the coffee, alcohol from the whiskey and cool from the cream. All at once. Distinct from each other, yet in harmony. It must be tasted to be believed.

And Buena Vista Irish Coffee differs from what you usually get in a bar in one major way. The cream as they use it is not just aerosol cream from a can. It is treated in a way that makes it softer, less firm. It becomes a part of the drink, not just a decoration on the top. And the lowered viscosity means the cream plays an integral part in the complete taste because you can taste it along with the rest of the ingredients.

[Irish Coffee Ingredients]

Here is the way I cover Buena Vista Irish Coffee.

1. Start the coffee brewing. I like strong coffee for Irish. Don't use flavored coffee!

2. Heat some extra water in the microwave.

3. Get your Irish Coffee glass.

4. Get the Tulamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.

5. Get three sugar cubes-regular size.

6. Wait until the coffee is finished brewing.

7. Add the microwaved hot water to the Irish glass.

8. Make the cream. Put one tablespoon of cream or half and half or milk into the bottom of a cup. Fill cup the rest of the way with aerosol cream. Mix with a teaspoon until the cream is incorporated into the aerosol and the mixture flows freely from a spoon. Don't overmix or it will become too thin. Don't undermix or it will be too thick.

9. Uncap the whiskey.

10. Dump the hot water out of the Irish glass.

11. Add three sugar cubes to the bottom of the Irish glass and then add just a little coffee. Use a clean spoon to mix the coffee and sugar to dissolve the sugar. The goal is to dissolve the sugar without losing the heat of the rest of the coffee.

12. Add coffee to about one-half inch from the top of the Irish glass.

13. Add the Tullamore to about one-fourth inch from the top of the Irish glass.

14. Use a clean spoon just above the coffee/whiskey and slowly add the cream to the top of the glass. The goal is to fill the glass without the cream mixing with the rest of the liquid.

15. Immediately take a big enough drink of the Irish Coffee so that you get the heat of the coffee, the taste of the whiskey and the coolness of the cream, all in the same gulp.

16. Repeat until drained (the glass that is).

Note: You have to make Irish Coffees one at a time. They are fleeting pleasures, and must be drunk immediately upon adding the cream. If they sit on a counter while you make a second drink they will not be as good. Two can share the first Irish Coffee, and then share the second one. Or, if you are on less familiar terms, the guest gets the first one and the barista the second one. Enjoy.

Posted November 8, 2015.

mail comments to

[Go Back to My Beekeeping Page]

[Go Back to My Home Page]