A stormy night in 1942, a flying boat pilot's decision to abandon his journey, and a young Irish chef and a travel writer from San Francisco conspired to deliver a deliciously creamy mug of spiked java beloved around the world. While the original Irish coffee is still served in the place that made it famous, the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, it is The Dead Rabbit in NYC that arguably serves the world's best concoction. No wonder: its owners are Irish immigrants dead set on discovering the secrets to making perfect cocktails. Like nearly all simple and successful recipes, this one relies on quality ingredients. The cream should be as fresh and local as possible--cold and whipped just before floating it over the back of a spoon and into the coffee. Only a high quality Irish whiskey such as Jameson, Clontarf, or Powers Signature and coffee made with a French press will insure results similar to those served in this lower Manhattan imbibing institution. Much of the enjoyment comes from sipping and sharing mugs of the boozy coffee through a stream of cold spiced cream in good company. Bottoms up!
Serve in absinthe glasses, traditional Waterford Irish Coffee Mugs, or even glass Ball jars for canning. Warm all glasses with hot water for 30 seconds before pouring coffee into them. Beware of bottled Demerara sugar, it may not have the depth of flavor of homemade. The cream should be just barely whipped and still pourable--if it must be scooped, it is too thick. Do not be tempted to stir the cream into the coffee.