Coffee Plus Alcohol
The popularity of coffee among the Moslem Turks and Arabs was as a substitute for alcohol, forbidden them by religion. In Christian countries, where no such prohibition exists, the invigorating properties of coffee are enhanced by the addition of alcohol. In Italy a slug of aniseed (ants, anice) ensures a pleasant wakefulness for the business of the later evening. Call it Highland coffee if you lace it with a good dollop of a single-malt Whisky or Drambuie, cafe royal if you add Cognac, Carribean coffee with a fine Barbados Rum, Danish with Aquavit, Mexican with Kahlua, Bourbon with Southern Comfort, Russian with Vodka, Normandy with Calvados, or witch’s coffee with Strega.
In Ireland and elsewhere the most renowned and recent coffee/alcohol invention, Gaelic (or Irish) coffee, has a world-wide reputation. The merit of the drink was illustrated for me in a restau-rant some years ago when an uncle ordered Gaelic coffee for his wife — a lifelong teetotaller — without explaining the contents. On finding that she couldn’t have a second one, as it was after hours, my normally demure aunt raised a shriek of protest at the unfortunate waiter who, she imagined, had unreasonably refused to serve her with another coffee. Here is the recipe:
Gaelic (or Irish) coffee
Heat a stemmed whiskey glass. Pour in a good slug of Irish Whiskey. Add three cubes of sugar. Fill glass with strong black coffee to within one inch of the brim and stir to dissolve sugar. Top to brim of glass with double cream poured carefully over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the coffee. Do not stir as the best flavour is obtained by drinking the coffee and Whiskey through the cream.
Spiced coffee is rather a show-off affair, and is flamed in a silver bowl or chafing dish called variously brule, brulot or diable. You need a bowl over a spirit lamp or candle warmer. For 12 to 15 coffee cups, use a bottle of Brandy and 1-½ pints of strong coffee. Into the bowl put the thinly pared rind of an orange, 4 large sugar lumps well rubbed with lemon rind to absorb the zest, 4 cloves, an inch of stick cinnamon, an inch of vanilla pod and the Brandy. With a long-handled ladle, lift out some of the warmed Brandy, set it alight and lower it into the bowl to set the mixture alight. Pour in the hot coffee gently, raising the liquid a ladleful at a time to mix everything until the flames die. While the applause for the spectacular display goes on, ladle the mixture into the coffee cups of your appreciative guests.