By SUSAN ERICSON
There was a time, not so long ago, when most restaurants would hand their customers a menu of coffee-based, alcohol-laced, sweetened beverages at the end of a meal. But food and drink styles are as susceptible to change as runway garb, and tend to be described in the same way. Does your taste go to something retro or classic? Or are you always looking for the next new thing?
Café mocha double lattes may come and go, but there are some classic drinks that are always in style. And with stores bedecked in shades of green reminding us that the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday is on its way, PieHole went in search of an old standard at the Dublin House Pub on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.
There, bartender Timmy Hamilton demonstrated for us the method and key components that go into the making of an Irish Coffee, one of the easiest classic drinks to make at home.
Pouring a healthy and unmeasured amount of Jameson Whiskey into a glass mug, Hamilton added strong, hot black coffee, a teaspoon of sugar, and topped it all off with whipped cream.
Whipped cream, that is, made from heavy cream, whipped stiff, and barely sweetened – not the thin, runny stuff that you squirt out of can. “We make it up the way they do in Ireland: thick and not a lot of sugar in it,” Hamilton said.
Like having a three ring circus in your mouth, the first sip of hot liquid through the cold cream is both calming and jarring. Then the bite of the whiskey hits your tongue.
Tending toward bitter, this is not the sweet, coffee shop frappuccino it looks like. What it is, though, is a grown-up way to heat your insides and put a smile on your face.