Cahill Coffee {an Irish whiskey cold brew coffee cocktail}

The gift of gab is no stranger to my Irish heritage nor the company I’ve kept throughout the years. In college, I knew this fellow named Seamus Cahill. Seamus once claimed that he bonged a fifth of Everclear. I said without a tinge of irony, “Great! You’re dead!” For those with more modest sensibilities than Mr. Cahill, a “fifth of Everclear” is an entire 750ml bottle of 95% alcohol. “To bong” means to chug the entirety of it through a tube attached to a large funnel, intended for cheap domestic beer that usually clocks in around 4% alcohol. Miraculously, Mr. Cahill is still with us, and this cocktail appeals to that very spirit that honors the stories we love to tell ourselves about ourselves along with our more grown and refined–though no less indulgent–sensibilities. So I offer the Cahill Coffee, an Irish whiskey cold brew coffee cocktail.

Cahill Coffee - an irish whiskey cold brew coffee

Like much of the legend and lore of Irish culture that resurfaces in America around the 17th of March, the Irish Coffee has blurry roots. It may or may not specifically have originated in Ireland. But it was the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco that made the drink what it is known as today. The recipe is simple: hot coffee, some sugar (brown specifically), and Irish whiskey, all topped with a thick layer of foam or whipped cream. To honor my own Irish heritage (my Irish family comes from Cork and appropriately bears the name”Cahill”), to honor the majestic stories we all embellish, and to honor the diehard American tradition to bastardize the subtle nuances of other traditions, I wanted to make my own spin on the Irish Coffee. Is this a cocktail only to be enjoyed on St. Patrick’s Day? Well…should we only drink Irish whiskey and Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day? I didn’t think so.

irish whiskey coffee cocktail

I wanted to explore the possibility of a cold version of the classic. Cold brew coffee is all the rage right now, and there are plenty of available labels in grocery stores and local co-ops. You can also make it at home with no trouble and very little equipment….just some time and patience. Oh, and exceptional coffee. Trust me. So that aspect of the drink was taken care of: high-quality cold brew coffee and Irish whiskey. Now I just needed to present it properly.

irish whiskey coffee cocktail recipe

I toyed with the idea of just shaking the coffee and whiskey with some simple syrup and pouring it all over ice and then letting some heavy cream cascade into the craggy abyss. Too easy. I wanted this to be an elegant cocktail worthy of Yeates’ bucolic verse and Wilde’s ironic wit. Yeah right. I just wanted it to look good and encourage slow sipping and admittedly some existential reflection more worthy of Beckett. So I served it up in a cocktail glass, no ice. A mint sprig lends an appropriate flourish, and adding some Angostura to the whipped cream enlivens it with earthy-spicy aromatics that play wonderfully with the coffee and raw sweetness of the turbinado syrup.

irish whiskey cold brew coffee cocktail recipe

And there you have it! A cold version of the boozy Irish classic. It drinks bitter, sweet, roasty-toasty, and delicious. Somehow having these flavors cold emphasizes their inherent fruitiness as well. The key here is the quality ingredients and a unique whipped foam on top, but all in all it’s a simple cocktail with Irish whiskey and cold brew coffee. Like most cocktails with finesse, this one is simple to make and simple to drink and good for any occasion. As the Irish would say, it’s “good craic!” Slainte!

Cahill Coffee [an Irish Whiskey and Cold Brew Coffee Cocktail]
Named for the Irish in us all--perceived or in reality--this is a cold-brew alternative to the classic Irish Coffee. The key here is high-quality cold brew and perfectly whipped heavy cream with a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Slainte!
Serves: 1
  • 2-3 ounces Cold Brew Coffee
  • 2 ounces Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup made from raw turbinado sugar
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Angostura bitters
  • Mint for garnish
  1. Place coffee, whiskey, and simple in a mixing glass.
  2. Fill ⅔ with ice and stir for at least 20 seconds.
  3. Strain into a large coupe or cocktail glass.
  4. Top with whipped cream*
  5. Garnish with mint sprig.
  6. Enjoy lavishly!
  7. For the whipped topping: Whip about 3 ounces of heavy whipping cream and about ¾ ounce simple syrup and a few generous dashes of Angostura bitters. Use an immersion blender or whisk until cream forms a billowy whip like egg whites. Don't over do it; you want it to be soft and creamy.

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Nicholas Stanton

Bartender/Sales Associate at Craft Wine & Beer
I am strongly rooted in the Reno community. I believe in radically local ethics and the consumer support of micro communities. A large component of this is in the arts to express our realities, outdoor activities to encourage health and a deep care for the environment and food and drink culture to support local producers, farmers, and businesses. When I'm not geeking out and purveying new and exciting products at Craft Wine & Beer, I can be found cycling around town, reading literature of the Americas and dense philosophy and critical theory. Oh yeah, and keeping my two neurotic Border Collies entertained.
Filed under: Cocktail Recipes, Other Cocktail Recipes
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