If you’re looking for a good blended Irish whiskey to serve this holiday season, Jameson Irish whiskey may just be the elixir for you.
I’m frequently asked to recommend a whiskey to serve out of town guests who are visiting for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Although I’m partial to smokey, peaty Scotch whisky like Laphroaig, sometimes an all purpose whiskey–which in no way implies ordinary or cheap— that can be sipped with pleasure or added to a cocktail (such as Irish coffee) is the way to go. One of the best known Irish blended whiskies in the world, Jameson Irish whiskey is my choice for a Celtic holiday gathering: smooth enough for sipping, flavorful enough for cocktails, reasonably priced, and available at most liquor stores.
Jameson Irish whiskey makes a wonderful gift for the host or hostess of a party, as well as a stocking stuffer or under the tree surprise for a whiskey aficionado. In addition to the original, there are several other vintages of Jameson Irish whiskey from which to choose. Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve, Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve and Jameson 2007 Rarest Vintage Reserve are all mature blends with more refinement and different flavors than the original, but you will pay a significantly higher price. Click HERE or HERE for reviews of these specialty vintages of Jameson Irish whiskey.
By the way, in case you were wondering about my changes in spelling, Irish whiskey is spelled with an “e”, while Scotch whisky has no “e”.
One of the most popular uses of Jameson Irish whiskey is as an ingredient in recipes for cocktails and food. I use it in Irish coffee, a simple, but delicious treat on a cold night by the fire.
There are hundreds of variations on Irish coffee, with many calling for whipped cream on the top of the drink. Here’s the original recipe, which I prefer–the cream is not whipped, just carefully poured on top:
Ingredients (serves 2-3 people)
1 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey
2 cups hot black coffee–I like it strong, but brew to your preference
3/4 cup fresh heavy cream–do not use half and half or your recipe will fail
1 TBS sugar–I use turbinado, but you can also use brown sugar or white sugar**
Pour coffee, whiskey and sugar into large pan and heat over medium -high heat til sugar is blended. Do not boil.
** The tablespoon of sugar is NOT optional; if you leave out the sugar, the cream won’t float on the top. If you don’t want to use sugar, buy a can of good whipped cream and use that as a topping instead of the heavy cream.
Pour equal amounts of mixture into two Irish coffee glasses (click HERE to see the type of glass preferred), leaving an inch or two of room at top.
That was easy, right?
Now comes the tricky part. There are two methods for getting the cream to float on top of the coffee; both require a wee bit of skill and practice.
1) Take a metal teaspoon, hold just above the surface of the coffee and then gently and carefully pour the cream over the BACK of the spoon, gradually raising the spoon until you have about an inch or so of cream on top. This is my preferred method (learned it from a bartender back in my college days) and is easy to master after a few tries. I promise–if you added the sugar as indicated, the cream WILL float on top of the coffee.
2) Using a teaspoon, hold the spoon facing up and just touching the surface of the coffee. Carefully and slowly, pour cream into spoon until it overflows, raising the spoon gradually as needed to keep it just touching the surface of the coffee. Again, the dissolved sugar will allow the cream to float atop the coffee mix.
Now that you’ve created your masterpiece, drink your Irish coffee by sipping it through the cream layer.
The experience is heavenly!