Yes, I know, I haven’t covered real Irish coffee yet and here I am writing about a rather non-classic variation on same. I have my reasons. First, I want to acknowledge the start of Halloween Weekend 2011. Second, even in Southern Calfornia, the weather is finally cooling down and it’s time to run DOTW’s first ever warm beverage. Finally, more than traditional Irish coffee, this drink, promulgated by the good folks representing the reliably tasty Bailey’s Original Irish Creme, brings back many fond memories of countless youthful late night/early morning sessions of blackjack and craps fueled by even more countless rounds of allegedly free Baileys and coffee. How can you not love any drink combining the four basic food gambling trip food groups: caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and fat. I was certainly happy to get a free bottle of the key non-coffee ingredient in the mail.
Anyhow, this version is a nice autumnal variation on the Baileys and java theme that adds a dash of something extra, but not a speck of actual pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin Irish Coffee
2 ounces Irish cream
4 ounces strong coffee or espresso
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 espresso beans (optional garnish and/or snack if you want to get extra wired)
Combine Irish cream and pumpkin pie spice (a melange of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, but no pumpkin) as best as you can in a small coffee cup. Pour in four ounces, or maybe a bit more, of freshly made and hopefully very hot coffee or espresso. Stir again, rather vigorously. Top with whipped cream and, if you want to get fancy, three espresso beans. Sip, and remember, whatever you do, don’t split 10s and never bet the farm on hard 8.
I actually altered this recipe somewhat, cutting down the pumpkin spice from a full teaspoon to just a half. While the spices definitely add an extremely nice flavor to the coffee and alcoholic cream combo, they also have proven to be somewhat resistant to dissolving, even with the hot coffee. The result is a sludgy residue at the bottom of the coffee cup that I didn’t love. Cutting the amount of pumpkin spice in half, however, has also resulted in cutting the residue down to acceptable levels. Using actual super-hot espresso from a machine might also help on that score. If you do so, certainly feel free to experiment with going full pumpkin.