This is a sad post to write - my contribution to the very last Mixology Monday. As Fred writes in his announcement post, participation has been flagging in recent months, and the MxMo website locking him out seemed to be a sign that it was time to end the online cocktail party's 11-year run. I'm really glad I got to participate in so many of these events and even host one last month. It's been fun, inspiring, and a great way to connect with other cocktail nerds.
And so, fittingly, the theme for the final Mixology Monday is Irish Wake. Fred has encouraged us to make a cocktail using Irish Whiskey and/or to talk about a time in our lives where drinks helped with the grieving process. I'm quite lucky to have had few friends or family members to grieve in my adult life, so I don't really have a story to share. But I will happily pull out a bottle of Irish Whiskey and help give Mixology Monday a proper sendoff.
I don't use Irish Whiskey much, reaching instead for rye, bourbon, or Scotch. The only bottle I have is GrandTen's South Boston Irish Whiskey, which is really lovely but tends to go overlooked in my bar. I mostly pull it out when recipes specifically call for Irish Whiskey, such as in the Cooper Union or a classic Irish Coffee, and I've never used it in a recipe of my own.
That Irish Coffee was still fresh in my mind when I mixed up this simple Irish Whiskey cocktail. Some coffee liqueur, a dash of Allspice Dram, and a bit of Demerara syrup made for a spirit-forward tribute to the winter staple. It's rich and sweet and strong, with enough coffee in it to - maybe - wake the dead.
I recommend reaching for a coffee liqueur that's not very sweet for this recipe - two I definitely recommend but that might be tough to find in most places are Durham Distillery's Damn Fine Coffee Liqueur and Seymour's Coffee Liqueur from Boston Harbor Distillery. I haven't tried St. George's Nola Coffee Liqueur, but since everything they make is top-notch, I bet it would be quite good as well. If you must use Kahlua or something similarly sweet (nothing against Kahlua, I actually quite like it), reduce the Demerara syrup accordingly.
So here's to 116 months of Mixology Monday. Fred, thanks for keeping the party going so long.
Wake the Dead2 oz. Irish Whiskey
1 oz. coffee liqueur (Damn Fine Coffee Liqueur)
1/4 oz. Allspice Dram
1/2 oz. Demerara syrup*
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass and garnish with star anise. Raise a toast to Mixology Monday - may it rest in peace.
*For Demerara syrup, combine 2 parts Demerara sugar with 1 part water in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Let cool before using.