Brewhaha: The Cure is always Coffee Liquor

Coffee is something that can be worked into your everyday routine, with so many ways to make delicious beverages. But if you’re looking to spice up your life during this locked-down time - this blog will be focused on something that you (probably) wouldn’t have every day, but is definitely worth trying out at home. We will be discussing coffees that use liquor, both for a warming winter drink and refreshing one for the summer. These are some of our favourites, which we think deserve some recognition and we hope you give them a try!




Irish coffee is one of the most iconic drinks, beloved by tourists visiting the Emerald Isle. It is warming, creamy and sweet. It is made up of hot coffee, whiskey, cream and sugar, served in a tall glass. The sugar is added to the coffee and whiskey, then stirred until dissolved. Thick cream is poured in over the back of a spoon. Though this is the standard recipe in Ireland, there are many possible variations. Cream from a can be used, or fresh cream that has been gently shaken to achieve a smoother layer on top. An Irish coffee in some southeast Asian bars is comprised the same ingredients, but is served over ice as a cocktail. Many other nations across the globe have their own variations, for example, rum is used in Jamaica and vodka in Russia.

One claim to fame for the origin of the Irish coffee is that of Joe Sheridan. Joe worked in a restaurant in modern-day Shannon Airport and, after a plane needed to turn back to Shannon on their way to New York due to bad weather conditions, was asked to serve the weary passengers something delicious and warming. Celebrities and political figures often travelled through Shannon and it was mainly used as a stop-over point for longer flights. Thus, the restaurant was made to accommodate this. This whiskey and coffee mixture became an airport speciality. Stanton Delaphane, a San Francisco travel writer, claims to have brought the recipe to the States after having tried it, while passing through the airport. Jack Koeppler, an American bartender, even travelled to Ireland to learn the recipe. Sheridan offered him this:

Cream - Rich as an Irish Brogue 
Coffee - Strong as a Friendly Hand 
Sugar - Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue 
Whiskey - Smooth as the Wit of the Land

From that point on, it is said that the Irish coffee took off. This simple, creamy and delicious hot drink is perfect during the winter months and is a staple of Irish Christmases.

The caffè corretto is probably the closest Italian equivalent to an Irish coffee, though they are quite different. They come in far smaller quantities, with less alcohol. A shot of espresso is topped off with a small amount of liquor, such as grappa, sambuca or sometimes brandy. When ordering a corretto it is important to specify which one you want: “un caffè alla grappa/sambuca.” The liquor is either served already in the coffee or provided in a shot glass alongside the espresso for the customer to add themselves. This type of coffee can also often be found in Eritrea, as a result of Italy’s colonial past there, and they usually use locally produced areki or cognac.

Corretto means correct, the thinking behind this being that the liquor would correct the bitter taste of coffee. A possible explanation is that during Mussolini’s time in power, people turned to chicory or orzo drinks, as coffee prices became too expensive. Alcohol would be used to correct the bad taste. They can be served as a post-dinner digestif to aid with digestion. Corretto are no longer very popular in Italy, the majority of those who drink them would be older Italians.

The caffè freddo serves as the blueprint for modern day iced coffees. They are arguably the most popular coffee trend at the moment, across the world. However, Italy’s version is definitely more low key than the giant iced coffees found in America. It is a very refreshing spring or summer drink, perfect for cooling down by the pool or while exploring. The caffè freddo is made of sugar, ice and coffee, shaken together to achieve a frothy top. Alcohol can be added as well. It is perhaps a less boozy option than an aperol spritz to enjoy during hot summer days.

These three beverages really have you set for enjoying a slightly boozy, caffeinated drink at any time of the year. Irish coffees are perfect for cold winter days shopping in town and the caffè freddo makes for a great poolside drink. The history behind these drinks is so interesting -we think that alone should made you want to try them out yourselves. Or just add them to your list of things to try out on your post-lockdown trip to Italy!

Our La Brasilera coffees are the perfect place to start:

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