Recipe courtesy of Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon

Irish Coffee

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 5 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Yield: 1 drink
Inspiration: The Buena Vista Cafe, San Francisco, California, 1952. There are those who wish us to believe the unlikely fact that Irish coffee was invented at Shannon Airport in the 1940s. Obviously, for any of us who have been to any airport, we know that nothing creative has ever occurred in such a place. A competing tale has it that Jonathan Swift invented the Irish coffee in 1705 through the simple genius of adding whiskey to his coffee and cream. Earlier the same day he had invented the Irish toasted cheese, Irish biscuit, Irish hat stand, and Irish stack of envelopes by inadvertently pouring whiskey onto those household items as well. Regardless of its original production, the drink did not come into its own until its appearance in San Francisco at the Buena Vista Cafe, where it became a permanent favorite of locals and tourists alike. We always knew we wanted an Irish coffee on the menu at the Dead Rabbit, as it is perhaps the best-known Irish-American classic, and this recipe was designed under the guidance of Dale "King Cocktail" DeGroff. It's a deceptively simple approach. One secret: Buy ridiculously expensive heavy cream from your favorite local dairy. Another tip: When preparing this classic, be careful not to slip on the Irish floor.


Demerara Sugar Syrup:


  1. Add all the ingredients, except the garnish, to an Irish coffee glass. Float an inch of whipped cream on top. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Demerara Sugar Syrup:

Yield: About 16 ounces
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, but do not boil. Slowly stir to dissolve the sugar. When the syrup has thickened, remove from the heat. Use a funnel to pour into bottles. The syrup will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.