It’s Burns Night this evening, but it’s also another Gaelic themed national day …
While the likes of Le Frog in Serre Chevalier are preparing their Rabbie celebrations (Dee planned a Burns supper with music, haggis, neeps and tatties), others are raising their glasses to Irish Coffee Day.
Irish Coffee came to be 74 years ago, after chef Joe Sheridan warmed weary travellers at Shannon Airport with his made-up brew of whiskey-spiked coffee and whipped cream. These days it’s a staple in bars and restaurants all over the mountains: A warming drink to welcome you in from the cold, a spot of dutch courage for that looming piste or something to simply sip as you watch the world ski by.
In honour of what’s become a terrific après ski tipple, we’ve put together 5 places for a cracking ‘coffee, plus a guide to its cousins across the Alps…
Record Breaking Irish Coffee…
If you want a Whiskey in St Moritz, there’s only one place to go. A member of the ‘Leading Bars of the World’, Devil’s Place has 2500 different varieties – that’s the biggest selection on the planet. So naturally their Irish coffee (whichever whiskey you go for) is the stuff of legend.
Rotating Irish Coffee…
Sip your drink s l o w l y… or order a second – you need to spend at least half an hour here as that’s how long it takes for the Piz Gloria restaurant to rotate. The 360° view from the top of the Schilthorn shows you the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch peaks, plus about a jillion more in between – and if the whiskey doesn’t make your eyes water, the scenery certainly will. We reckon even 007 would have been tempted to swap his signature ‘shaken, not stirred’ for an Irish Coffee here – before his famous ski down the mountain in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Irish Coffee from a Deck Chair
Yeti’s one of our favourite meeting places in Avoriaz; pick a sunny day, plonk yourself in a lounger, order an Irish Coffee (with chocolate sprinkles) and pair it with a crepe. Heaven in the Portes du Soleil.
Cosy Irish Coffee
Wonderfully cosy, no fuss nosh and typically Austrian decor from head to toe – St Anton’s visitors quickly fall in love with the Fuhrmann Stube (and its delectable whiskey-spiked drinks might have a little something to do with it).
Irish Coffee within sledding distance
And if you don’t fancy a slide on a sledge, Le Rouge’s insanely good Irish Coffee is also reachable by ski, snowboard, foot, car, bike, stretched Hummer (when in Verbier…). Named after the piste it sits at the bottom of, this place has a knack of maintaining Verb’s reputation for 5* quality, and making everyone feel welcome and relaxed. Hog a spot on the sun terrace, soak up music and marvelous scenery and sip away.
Irish Coffee… moments from your bedroom
In fact whether you’ve booked a room in the lovely Hotel Aigle Des Neiges or not, the bar is worth a visit for its Irish Coffee which, with generous lashings of Jameson is one of the best in Espace Killy.
As well as serving today’s celebrated tipple in almost every café/bar/restaurant, the different ski nations have their own versions of Ireland’s iconic whiskey + coffee + cream concoction. They’re delicious, and well worth a sip…
The Swiss specialise in Schümli Pflümli
Sugar + Plum Schnapps + Coffee + Cream. The Schümli Pflümli has to be the tastiest tongue twister we’ve ever known.
And if you’re in the land of La Dolce Vita, Bombardinos are bellissimo
Advocaat + Brandy + Optional Espresso Shot for a ‘calimero’ + Cream. Like a bright yellow beacon, beckoning you to the nearest bar.
Austrians make a merry mix of coffee, cream and rum
Rum (usually STROH) + Milk + Cream + Sugar + Coffee. STROH my goodness – a wicked winter warmer if ever there was one.
Meanwhile the French favour Cafe Marnier
Grand Marnier + Coffee + Cream. Some like it hot, while others opt for a chilled version. Either way you can’t miss the distinctive orangey liqueur.
Whether you’re in the Alps at the moment (lucky devil – it looks set to be gloriously sunny this week) or, like us, at home wishing you were – as you’re toasting the genius of Robert Burns, raise a glass to Irish Coffee creator Joe Sheridan too.
Apres ski just wouldn’t be what it is without him!
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