Saturday, March 13, 2010


Last night, after stuffing our faces at Canton Cooks (a local place that serves authentic Hong Kong-style cuisine), we joined Johnny and Jackie Tabs at their home for a spot of dessert.

Jackie had made Cherry Peek-a-Boo Bars, shortcakey affairs with a layer of tart cherries... and to wash them down she had made a nice strong pot of coffee.

Cherry Peek-a-Boo Bars
Jackie’s Cherry Peek-a-Boo Bars, the correct cake to enjoy with corrected coffee.

At Casa di Tabs, no cup of coffee is complete without a shot of sambuca, so I proceeded to doctor up my coffee appropriately, creating the famous Caffè Corretto, the “corrected” coffee of bella Italia.

Coffee is fine, in and of itself... but if you want it corrected, you add a shot of sambuca... or grappa... or brandy. These spirits transform a good cuppa Joe into a potent, soul-warming cuppa Giuseppe, a fine dessert accompaniment as well as an excellent morning eye-opener.

This got me thinking about other “corrected” coffee drinks. Spirits and coffee, of course, go together hand-in-hand. You can go the sweet route - Grand Marnier, Kahlùa, or Bailey’s Irish Cream are dandy - or you can add something even more potent. I still have warm memories of a Thermos filled with hot coffee, cream, sugar, and lashings of Scotch whisky, consumed on a cold fall afternoon at a football game over thirty-five years ago. (Of course, that would be blended Scotch, not single-malt.)

But for the finest Corrected Coffee outside of Italy, you have to head to the Emerald Isle for inspiration. I speak, naturally, of Irish Coffee.

There is something magic about the combination of Irish whisky and coffee that gladdens the heart, quickens the blood, and loosens the tongue. You brew up some strong coffee and dump it into a cup in which you have placed a few cubes of Demerara sugar and a liberal shot of the Irish. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then top with a spoonful of lightly sweetened, freshly whipped cream. None of that shit from a can, if you please... and none of that Cool Whippy ersatz schlag, either. The Irish deserves nothing but the best.

Now drink that sumbitch down. Have another, if you please... or two or three. Now, are ye not ready for the Feast of Saint Padraig, a mere three days away?

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