There are a lot of not-so-great Irish coffees out there—lots are too sweet, too boozy, or just not well balanced. But Dublin's Chapter One changed that for me. I was filming Off Menu there and, between takes they make this amazing Irish Coffee. The restaurant is located in the former Jameson family house which is why they make their signature Irish Coffee with Jameson whisky. The attention to detail in their food is just as apparent in their Irish Coffee that’s the best I’ve ever had. The key to their Irish Coffee is that the whole drink is flambéed so that the flavors come out just right.
like demerara, turbinado, or cane sugar
such as Jameson
Heat a medium heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Grate the nutmeg into the pan then immediately sprinkle the brown sugar evenly across the pan. Carefully watch the pan as the sugar will begin to melt and caramelize.
Once the sugar is caramelized, add a splash (say 2 to 3 tablespoons) of the hot coffee and swirl it around the pan. Move quickly for the next few steps: remove the pan from the heat then add the alcohol (off the heat) and carefully ignite it. Keep it off the heat and let the flame burn out. When the flame dies down, pour in the remainder of the hot coffee and swirl to mix.
Transfer the mixture to a glass and top with just-whipped cream. You want it to have a little texture so it will sit on the coffee, but not so much that it forms peaks.
If you want to get fancy, float the cream by: placing the tip of a spoon perpendicular to the inside edge of the glass, turn the curve of the spoon toward the ceiling, and slightly angle the spoon downward. Slowly pour the cream down the spoon toward the inside of the glass and, so long as the liquid is less dense than the other liquids in the glass, it will float. Top with a little more nutmeg and serve.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp