Every day a different drink. Not just how to make them, but a detailed review of how they actually taste, photos of the drinks, and stories along the way. Starting from the beginning, The Bartender's Black Book will be our guide, taking us

(and our livers) on a journey from which we may never recover. Cheers!

February 23, 2011

#54: Ambush Coffee

1 oz Irish Whisky
1 oz Amaretto
Fill with hot black coffee, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with shaved almonds, then dribble 4-5 drops Green Creme de Menthe on top.

Let's talk about Irish Whiskey.

Key regulations defining Irish whiskey and its production were established by the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 and are relatively simple (for example, in comparison with those for Scotch whisky or American whiskey). Here's the basics:

• Irish whiskey must be distilled and aged in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland. (duh)

• The contained spirits must be distilled to an alcohol by volume level of less than 94.8% from a yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains in such a way that the distillate has an aroma and flavor derived from the materials used. (glad it won't smell like something that's not in there! Guess that keeps the roadkill-mash crowd in Kentucky out of the running. There are SOME standards left)

• The product must be aged for at least three years in wooden casks. (I have underwear older than this, although I have no idea what that means)

• If the spirits comprise a blend of two or more such distillates, the product is referred to as a "Blended" Irish whiskey. (again, duh. although I see the point here. Spell out any numbering for the drinkers. Saves trouble later.)

So, follow those basic rules, and you get a pretty good tasting alcohol, I must say. Very different from what we call whiskey here in America. Smooth, sometimes smokey, more oaky than American (at least what I've had), and definitely strong on the taste. I can see why people get passionate about their whiskey. It just has a special something that most other liquors don't, a character that is all it's own, and every one is different, unique, and special in its own way. (good god, did I just write that?)


On to the drink. This had a strong coffee flavor, with the Irish Whiskey providing an equally strong backdrop. The Amaretto did not make much of an appearance though. I couldn't really taste it, even though after I took the photo and stirred everything up to blend and get the full flavors.

As the whipped cream melted into the coffee, it mellowed the flavor substantially and made this into a nice after dinner drink. When you get to that point, you can taste the mint drops on top, which makes for a nice touch with the almonds.

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