10 out of 10
When I was growing up, I learned about the past of my family. We can trace lines into Wales, Ireland and Italy, all from different grandparents. I believe that the Italian lines are what show the most in our family. I grew up with this focus on La Familia that follows me to this day. The Irish in me is most apparent though. My eyes are hazel, with green and brown. I have light brown hair that turns yellow with enough sunlight. But my skin really shows it off. I am very pale, usually the lightest color on every foundation palette (and believe me, I’ve tried a few). I also sprout freckles like trees sprout flowers in the spring. The contrast between me and my family is pretty clear. I am tall and bring in the Welsh and Irish roots of my grandmother. The rest of my siblings and cousins are short, with dark hair, blue eyes and they actually manage to tan once in awhile. Tanning is something I’ve dreamed about but never done. It’s probably not physically possible.
So when I started learning about different cultures, I heard the usual jokes. “You’re Irish, so you’re always drunk.” “You’re Italian, so you’re part of the mob.” “You’re Welsh so you…um, what do the Welsh do?” It was the Irish jokes that rang the most true for me. I was raised as part of a family that allowed drinking at younger ages. I have stories of young Indigo getting drunk on accident, and I have the best stories of young Indigo getting drunk on purpose.
Bailey’s Irish Cream is a particular brand of alcohol represents a lot to me. It’s a delicious drink that hides in coffee. It makes something that I enjoy even better. But it’s also covert. It’s sneaky. If I’m not careful, it will take over the whole drink. Instead of enjoying a coffee with a kick, I’ll be making coffee that is mostly Bailey’s. It’s okay to do that occasionally, but I don’t want to do it all the time.
My mother is a huge fan of Irish Coffee. We don’t often eat out as a family. It’s even less often that the restaurant has Irish Coffee as an option. But when the stars align and we decide to have a post-dinner drink, my mother will always order an Irish Coffee. This drink is also common in my sister’s house, where I enjoy weekly visits rights now. Though there isn’t a lot of hard liquor there, she always has Bailey’s on hand. Because of these, I really associate Bailey’s Irish cream with the reliability of family. Sometimes that means it’s more like a pest, when you only have Bailey’s but you really wanted some Godiva liquor.
Now, Irish coffee also includes Jameson. And we know that our friend Jamie leads me to my
best worst best decisions. And I think that only makes Irish Coffee even more appropriate for family. Family is such a rocky subject for me, and having something as untrustworthy as Jameson being paired so beautifully with Bailey’s is a perfect metaphor for my interactions with my family. And this is why I don’t drink Irish Coffee by myself. When I look into the glass, and I watch the cream swirl, I can’t help but remember the struggles and the bad times. But when I drink with the people who can pull me out of my cup and into the fun world, an Irish Coffee can ground me in my roots.
I’m not an alcoholic, but I am Irish in a lot of ways. The roots are subtle, and they’ve been overshadowed by a big Italian tree. But they still run through my blood and into my life. I wouldn’t give them up any more than I would remove Jameson from a good Irish Coffee.
Indigo’s Best Recipe for an Irish Coffee
- 1 shot of Jameson Whiskey (no other brand will do)
- Coffee, already brewed, and preferably still hot (cold brew is not great for this)
- Bailey’s (to taste)
Brew the coffee and grab a mug. Pour the coffee into your mug leaving a lot of room for cream and sugar. Sugar the coffee almost to taste (you want it slightly less sweet to accent the other flavors). Do the shot of Jameson. Pour another. Put THAT shot in the coffee. Why? Because something can kick in while the coffee cools enough to drink. Lastly, add the Bailey’s until it reaches the desired color. You can top with whipped cream too, if you’re like me. Otherwise, enjoy as it is!
Additional Idea! For an Iced Irish Coffee, make some coffee the day before and pour into an ice cube tray. Use those ice cubes to cool off your coffee!
Additional Additional Idea! You can also just sip Bailey’s with some coffee ice cubes. Bailey’s on the rocks is a delicious and refreshing dessert drink!