How Whipped Cream Can Take Your Irish Coffee To The Next Level, According To A Cocktail Expert

Irish coffee, which was invented by a bartender at Foynes Airport in Limerick in the 1940s, is far from a one-dimensional concoction. In the world of mixology, every element of a drink is vigilantly considered. Molly Horn, manager of cocktail strategy at Total Wine & More, emphatically declares that whipped cream is more than an aesthetic garnish for Irish coffee; it's an indispensable ingredient.

As Horn explained to Mashed, a dollop of whipped cream deserves to blend seamlessly into the caife Gaelach rather than merely adorn its surface. This perspective revolves around the idea that whipped cream has the power to elevate an average-tasting Irish coffee into a velvety, sublime sipper, especially when it's freshly beaten. "The good stuff," as she describes it, plays a pivotal role in the marriage of flavors within the legendary libation.

"Making [whipped cream] by hand is absolutely worth it and not as hard as one might think," Horn encourages. And you might have the equipment you need right at your home bar. Horn's method involves adding a few ounces of heavy cream and a tablespoon of powdered sugar or a splash of simple syrup to a shaker tin set or cobbler shaker. (Don't have a shaker? Use this quick and easy mason jar hack for making whipped cream.) Horn even recommends infusing the cream with a touch of sophisticated complexity with a dash of vanilla extract, Angostura bitters – which enhance the drink by making the flavor burst – or the famously coveted, yellow-green liqueur, Chartreuse.

Freshly-whipped cream reigns supreme for Irish coffee

Before making the mistake of vigorously jiggling the shaker of heavy cream like a leprechaun flaunting its newly-discovered pot of gold, take heed to a bit of advice from Molly Horn. She suggests that you shake just until you feel resistance. You want a light, fluffy texture, and overzealous agitation could result in, well ... butter. "You don't want to shake so hard that it becomes stiff since then it would no longer be able to integrate into the cocktail," she says. The ultimate goal is to create a whipped cream that maintains a smooth — not too viscous — consistency, ensuring it can melt into the boozy coffee.

When it finally comes time to serve, Horn advocates for a generous pour of the whipped cream — an ounce or two — on top of the coffee, forming a layer that swirls into the cheerful coffee-meets-whiskey beverage. This step, she emphasizes, is what truly takes whipped cream from a decorative embellishment to an essential feature of Irish coffee.

The whipped cream in an Irish coffee should be deemed a mindfully-curated necessity, as Horn told Mashed. It adds a luxurious quality, introduces complementary flavors, and transforms a classic cocktail into a masterpiece. Horn's attention to detail and insistence on the homemade approach underscores the significance of whipped cream in elevating an ordinary St. Patrick's Day potable to an extraordinary eye-opener.