Friday, March 14, 2014

St. Patrick's Day and Irish Coffees

Growing up in Southern California, my family and I would often make the trek up to San Francisco for a few days. My mom lived in Santa Rosa when she and my dad were dating, and my parents would often explore the city when my dad would visit her. As little kids, my dad would take us back to some of his favorite spots like The Buena Vista.

The Buena Vista, in Fisherman's Wharf, is one of those places that never changes. It still looks the same as when I went there as a kid, and I'm sure it looks exactly like it did when my dad first started going there. The Buena Vista might seem like some neighborhood bar not worth its weight in gold, but it is a secret gem.

In 1952, then-owner Jack Koeppler and international writer Stanton Delaplane teamed up to recreate the "Irish Coffee" served at the Shannon Airport in Ireland. Their search for the perfect Irish Coffee recipe helped introduce Americans to the drink, and to this day, it is considered the quintessential Irish Coffee. 

Whenever we visited San Francisco, my family always made a stop at The Buena Vista. My dad would order Irish Coffee for himself, and grilled cheese sandwiches for me and my siblings. The last time Zach and I went to The Buena Vista, I still ordered a grilled cheese...but also enjoyed an Irish Coffee. 

Irish Coffee is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this weekend.  The drink is great in the late afternoon, right around 4pm, as the spring air gets slightly chilly and you find yourself needing a warm pick-me-up. Though I rarely celebrate St. Patrick's Day, March 17th happens to be one of my favorite days of the whole year. Find out why next Monday!

For more of my SF favorites, like The Buena Vista, check out my Pinterest board here

I am providing two Irish Coffee recipes--one from The Buena Vista, and one from Food Network. Both are great! I prefer The Buena Vista's, but I use the Food Network's version when I do not have any sugar cubes on hand. 

Irish Coffee: Buena Vista Version

1/3 cup of whipping cream
1 cup of hot, black coffee
2 cocktail sugar cubes
Jigger of Irish whiskey, like Jameson

To make the whipped cream, beat whipping cream with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form, like this:
Then, follow these instructions from The Buena Vista. 

Irish Coffee: Food Network Version

1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 jigger Irish whiskey

Beat the cream using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. 
Fill mug with hot water to preheat it, then empty the mug. Add brown sugar to mug, then add the coffee, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.   
Add the whiskey to the coffee.  Top with whipped cream.
 Of course, I had to use a San Francisco mug...

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