Lesson Eight: Advanced Mixology

Chapter Eleven: Warming Vapors

Irish Coffee

Originally prepared at Shannon Airport in Dublin by Joe Sheridan, the Irish Coffee found a home in the United States at the Buena Vista across from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 ounce brown sugar syrup
4 ounces coffee
Top with lightly whipped unsweetened cream

Combine Whiskey, coffee and syrup in an Irish coffee glass.  Ladle one inch of freshly whipped cream on top, and never, EVER, reach for that execrable can of shaken foam that ought never to be used on a drink unless you somehow believe that an oil slick across the top of your Irish Coffee is appetizing.

Sano Grog

Esquire printed this recipe in the late 1930s without giving any details as to its provenance. Whoever came up with it knew what’s what, though: it’s devilishly tasty and warming to the core.

1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce dark, full-bodied rum
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar
To finish: 1 thin wheel of lemon

Combine in a warmed mug, add 2 or 3 ounces boiling water, and stir. Float the lemon on top.

Bull’s Milk

Don’t let the name distract you; this old-timer is about as soothing as electrically heated bunny slippers and not nearly so silly looking. It can also be served cold—just shake everything up with a little cracked ice (and, of course, don’t bother heating the milk).

1 ounce cognac
1/2 ounce dark, full-bodied rum
1 teaspoon rich simple syrup
4 ounces (give or take an ounce) hot milk
To finish: freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the cognac, rum, and simple syrup in a mug, top off with milk, and grate nutmeg over the top.

Café Montezuma

Sometimes it’s fun to play with fire, and this variation on the venerable Café Royale, an after-dinner classic, lets you do just that.

1 ounce plus 1 teaspoon anejo tequila
4 to 6 ounces very hot coffee
1 sugar cube

Fill a small cup with the coffee and float 1 ounce of the tequila on top of it. Place the sugar cube in a long-handled teaspoon, fill the spoon with more tequila, and warm it for half a minute or so by holding it close to the surface of the coffee. Then have somebody hand you a lighted match (unless you can strike matches one-handed) and light the tequila in the spoon. Let this burn until the sugar bubbles (15 to 20 seconds) and then gently touch it to the surface of the tequila-covered coffee, which should light. When it burns itself out, drop the sugar in and stir.

Recipes reproduced from “Killer Cocktails” by David Wondrich