Stir together good Irish whiskey (like Redbreast or Paddy), brown sugar, and strong black coffee, and then pour fresh, soft whipped cream over the back of a hot spoon onto the surface of the coffee. There should be a good balance between the sweetness of the sugar, the heat of the coffee, and the warmth of the alcohol. That last mouthful of cool cream really brings a well-made Irish coffee together. —Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Virginia

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