So you woke up next to a frozen burrito and a can of Surge. We’re here to help. As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week we’ve got a Mexican twist on the Irish coffee, straight out of Texas.
HIS ELIXIR: Irish Coffee
ITS ORIGINS: Traditional Irish coffee consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, cream and not a single drop of Baileys. In the 1940s barman Joe Sheridan served this whiskey-spiked coffee to cold and weary tourists sneaking into Europe through Ireland’s Foynes airport (now known as Shannon). The travelers asked Sheridan if it was Brazilian coffee and he said no, it was Irish. The cocktail made its way across the Atlantic when a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle got a taste for it at Shannon. He worked with the owners of San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café to serve it for the first time in the U.S. in 1952.
ITS HEALING POWERS: Michael Martensen, co-founder of Dallas’ Proof + Pantry, learned how to make Irish coffee at the source during a stint in San Francisco. “I sat at the Buena Vista bar for a solid 30 days,” he says. “It was my favorite thing to drink and the best 30 days of my life.”
To customize the cocktail for his Dallas brunch, which launches in November, Martensen switches out the whiskey for tequila, the only alcohol that’s a stimulant. “When I take a shot of tequila, I feel ready to get going,” he says. That’s why coffee bars often offer agave as a natural sweetener. “I have an Irish coffee every Saturday morning when I come into work. It’s delicious.”
Martensen also recommends using a single-origin, Latin American coffee to give the drink more citrusy notes. He says the cocktail pairs well with huevos rancheros and tortillas, but he will not call it Mexican coffee. Deal with it.
WHY WE LOVE BARS WITH CHARACTER: “White and sterile does not work,” Martensen says. “No one wants to go to the dentist office and eat food.”
THE METHOD: In a cocktail tin, gently shake cream to thicken. Set aside. Combine coffee, tequila and sugar cubes in a Tulip glass. Stir with a bar-spoon until the sugar melts. Top with cream.
Alyson Sheppard is a writer and hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney’s, National Geographic Adventure, Jezebel, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep