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The last thing I wanted to do was sound Grinchy this Holiday season. But, seriously “Oh, the noise noise noise” America. You’ve got me all twisted and tired with your bombastic politicians and reports on bombastic politicians. Memes help, but those are fleeting. I have been seeking refuge from all of the noisy, fiery, political debates for a few weeks now and I finally found it. It was literally right under my nose this whole time …yes, literally.
The Irish coffee – one of America’s loveliest expatriate stories. It allows us to escape from the cold, loud political landscape and find that warm fuzzy feeling …inside and out. The history and recipe is easily found with a quick search on wiki …but, IMHO, this info under-delivers.
I was first told the story of the Irish coffee by one of our long time managers, an Irishman from Limerick, and it always stuck with me. Could be the accent, his flare for storytelling, or the fact that he actually worked in Shannon airport in another life, but this story and the history of the Irish coffee is one of my favorite lessons in the art of preparing this beverage, but also in Irish hospitality.
The story dates back to the 1940s, when an Irishman named Joe Sheridan, head chef of Foyne’s port (which later became Shannon airport) added some whiskey to the coffee of travel-weary American passengers who had just disembarked from a long trans-Atlantic Pan Am flight. Afterwards, one of the eager and grateful Americans asked if they had been served a Brazilian coffee. Sheridan responded with, “No. That was Irish Coffee”. But the story doesn’t stop there…
Shannon airport sold a lot of Irish coffees over the next 10 years and one American, a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle named Stanton Delaplane, brought the recipe back to his cafe in San Francisco and worked with the bar owners there to re-create it. After a lot of trial and error (those sessions are always fun) the guys found the winning formula for all of America. The rest is history. The recipe for Caife Gaelach, that’s the Irish translation for Irish coffee, is made by pouring hot coffee into a warmed glass mug, adding Irish whiskey (we like Tullamore Dew in ours), and brown sugar and topping it off with thick, fresh cream.
By some accounts, the Irish coffee was invented 100 years before all this, but on that fateful night in 1942, Joe Sheridan treated Americans to the best of what Ireland had to offer on a cold winter’s night– its neighborliness, comfort and whiskey!
“Stay away from politics” is a good rule to follow at the bar if you are avoiding the aforementioned bombast. For those who are seeking a little respite from the cold and chaos, there’s nothing more rejuvenating than sipping a warm winter cocktail. It’s the perfect nightcap on the best of nights and a pick me up and get me started on the worst. It’s “cozy in a cup” and, not surprisingly, it has always been a featured favorite on our menu. You’ll find it listed on both our food AND beverage menu. Let’s Make America Great Again? Sure. Start by making me an Irish coffee. Now there’s a good story…..
Thanksgiving Eve is the best drinking night of the Holiday season, if not the entire year. It’s a big statement maybe - especially with New Year’s Eve looming – but coming from the people who run bars, TRUST US, this is THE night of all nights to round up your crew and hit the town. The term Black Wednesday (what Black Friday is to retailers) has been kicking around for years now. Here’s why:
#1 No-one throws a party before the party.
They tell marathon runners to take a break from big runs the week before the race - same strategy applies to your Thanksgiving Day. On Thanksgiving Eve, let someone else do the entertaining.
#2 Everyone you know is back home (mostly).
It feels like that anyways. In one night, you’ll be clinking glasses with your cousin, an old high school friend, your neighbor, and a colleague from work. Oh, and there’s the off chance you’ll bump into your ex. Last call on Thanksgiving Eve always comes too quickly.
#3 You’re allowed to drink like you’re 22 again.
Just calling it as we see it. We get it though – you’re back with all your girls again. It’s just that kind of night.
#4 Everyone is off work on Thanksgiving Day (mostly).
Sleeping in on a Thursday is like a mid-week get out of jail free card. No-one cuts out early on Thanksgiving Eve -it’s a matter of principle.
#5 Thanksgiving Day Feast is the best Hangover Meal …eva
Remember that round of shots you ordered at last call? It’s ok. Homemade stuffing makes everything better.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Eve. Please drink responsibly and plan ahead …Uber. Cab. Walk.
Share your photos with us on Instagram @tiginirispub Tag #TiginThanksgivingEve
Irish pub food gets a bad rap. Always has. Pub grub, fried, frozen, bar food – and, I am here to tell you that the American food vernacular will never include, “I’m in the mood for Irish tonight”.
That said, what many Americans AND Irish-Americans may not realize though is that Ireland actually has a rich and long food history of making dishes that are prepared simply and with fresh, local ingredients. While the “grass fed beef” and “farm to table” movement explodes here in the USA, our friends back in Ireland find it all a bit perplexing. That response comes from their own culinary and agricultural traditions. Food has always been Farm to Table. Cows in Ireland don’t eat corn. They eat grass. Always have.
Dublin Has a Food Scene
A week ago we took all of our managers (the ladies and gents who run our pubs) to Dublin. It was a very special week marked with trips to iconic Dublin locales where we experienced the best food, drink and hospitality that the city had to offer. Trust me, we ate well. Very well.
(we recorded it in photos on our Instagram account if you’re curious)
During one special dinner, Chef and owner Kevin Arundel of The Chop House (best Pub 2012, 2014 & Dublin’s only Michelin recommended pub) talked us through his beef standards with a passion as extraordinary as his flavorful dishes. He spoke a lot about his philosophy of buying local, fresh veggies and meats with a focus on preparing simple but delicious dishes …and we found these food themes were consistent across the city. The whiskey was pretty good too.
Ireland is an island about the size of Indiana, so serving local, fresh food is an easier endeavor than what restaurants are faced with in the US in terms of ensuring quality, costs and consistency. Farm to Table just doesn’t work well when the farm is in Michigan and the table is in Florida. Regardless of the logistical challenges, a profound change is happening within our industry in the US around this new food philosophy in a sustainable way. We’re happy the industry is coming around to our way of thinking.
“I didn’t realize you guys had such good food”
At Tigín, we aren’t radicalizing our menu. We are ringing the dinner bell and offering a friendly, delicious alternative when you want to eat really well when you are out. We want you to think fresh, seasonal, local, house-made and zero trans fats oils. Our cod is wild caught. Our soups and Guinness and cheddar bread are made in-house, daily. Our corned beef is cut to our own specifications and our Irish sausage is our own recipe prepared by our own butcher. The lamb in our lamb sliders is actually braised and slow cooked for at least 4 hours before we even start thinking about prepping for dinner.
As for pub grub? Hell yeah! Our own Harp lager cheese covered chips and corned beef sandwich should be celebrated! We make a darn good burger too, incorporating grass-fed beef – a testament to our passion for preparing simple, fresh and really good food. That’s what “Irish” really means.
We think it’s time to reconsider your perception of Irish food. Luckily for you, we already have.
Go on and share your Irish food experiences with us online. We always appreciate the feedback!
Check out this great video showcasing the Ireland food scene today!