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During the holidays it can be hard to know whether you need a glass of whiskey to relax or a mug of coffee to stay awake, but luckily the Irish came up with the perfect solution in 1943. On a cold, rainy Irish night, passengers at Foynes Port, near Limerick, Ireland, were tired and rainy after their flight had to turn back midway through the journey. Taking pity on the weary travellers, Joe Sheridan, Head Chef of a coffee shop in the Flying Boat Terminal, added a bit of whiskey to some warm coffee and served it around that evening. Spirits were lifted, the terminal rejoiced, and the evening was full of “Good Craic” as the Irish say. 

Most of the passengers waylaid that night were American, and when they finally returned home they brought with them a warm, boozy beverage that could keep you awake all night long. Since then the Irish coffee has appeared in many forms. A cup of stale coffee sprinkled with a thimble of Baileys to a Jameson spiked latte piled high with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. This holiday season I’m keeping it simple but elegant by combining my love for Irish whiskey with my craving for a true spiced eggnog.

That’s right, the history of eggnog goes back even further than Irish coffee. Long before it came in a carton, people were mixing egg yolks, milk, spices, and booze to make this hearty evening beverage. Eggnog is actually present in some of my favorite stories from American history including the time West Point cadets almost overthrew the prestigious military academy after a few glasses of the boozy punch. Good eggnog is nothing to fight over, it’s a simple warming cocktail, and it tastes best when you make it from scratch. So the marriage of thick, creamy eggnog and warming, potent irish coffee is a marriage made in heaven.

EGGNOG IRISH COFFEE

Prep Time: 5 min

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 EGG YOLK
  • 4 OZ. MILK (PLANT-BASED MILKS WORK AS WELL, BUT DAIRY CREAM WILL CREATE THE THICKEST, FLUFFIEST EGG NOG.)
  • 1 OZ. HONEY (OR SIMPLE SYRUP, CONFECTIONERS SUGAR, ETC.)
  • 1 SPLASH VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1 DASH OF NUTMEG
  • 0.5 OZ. ORANGE LIQUOR (OPTIONAL)

GARNISH

  • 1 DASH OF NUTMEG
  • 1 CINNAMON STICK
  • 1 ORANGE PEEL

Directions

Notes

  • If you want a warm beverage you freshly brewed coffee, but if you prefer a cooler drink then use cold brewed coffee or the morning’s leftover coffee.
  • For a slightly different taste, feel free to use Allspice, Anise stars, cloves, or any other baking spice in this cocktail. The wonderful thing about creating your own eggnog is that you can spice it to your liking and sweeten it to taste.

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