Irish Coffee

Although I’m sure that many a dash of whiskey has made it into a coffee mug over the centuries, it wasn’t until the 1940s that Irish coffee was officially invented. The most interesting story of the drink’s origin claims it dates back to Ireland’s Shannon Airport in the early years of transatlantic air travel. It seems the drink was concocted by one Joe Sheridan to soothe shaken passengers who’d flown through hard storms in their “flying boats.” Sipping the smooth elixir, one passenger supposedly asked if he was drinking Brazilian coffee. To which Mr. Sheridan indignantly replied, “No, that’s Irish coffee!”





6 ounces Irish ­whiskey

30 ounces freshly brewed ­coffee

1⁄4 cup ­sugar

1 cup heavy cream, ­chilled

1 tablespoon confectioners’ ­sugar


Combine 1 ounce whiskey, 5 ounces coffee, and 2 teaspoons sugar in a mug (ideally a clear glass one). In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar until it’s slightly thickened. Using the back of a spoon, carefully slip the whipped cream into the mug, so that it rests on top of the coffee without dissolving into it.


Serves ­6



Tom & Jerry

The Tom & Jerry is eggnog’s warm and creamy cousin, with the added kick of rum and spices. There is some disagreement as to the origin of the drink. Some claim that it was named after the two principal characters in Pierce Egan’s popular 1821 book, Life in London, Jerry Hawthorn and his sidekick Corinthian Tom. Other cocktail etymologists speculate that the concoction was named after notorious mixologist Jerry Thomas, a bartender at San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel and the creator of the Martinez (the first martini, according to some). What’s not disputed is that the Tom & Jerry offers a delicious alternative to traditional eggnog.



3 quarts whole ­milk

24 large eggs (see page ­29)

2 cups ­sugar

Pinch of ­salt

1⁄2 tablespoon ground ­allspice

2 tablespoons ground ­cinnamon

1⁄2 tablespoon ground ­cloves

16 ounces ­brandy

16 ounces dark ­rum

Freshly ground nutmeg, for ­garnish


In a large saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until steaming; cover and keep warm. Separate the eggs into two large bowls, one for the yolks and another for the whites. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat with a wire whisk for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and lemon-colored.Using a wire whisk or an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they form soft peaks; set aside.

Add the spices, brandy, and rum to the yolk mixture. Stirring continuously, mix in the warm milk. Carefully fold the reserved whites into the batter. Pour into individual glasses and garnish each with a pinch of nutmeg.

Serves ­24

Hot Buttered Rum

Here’s a concoction you won’t see many vascular surgeons imbibing anytime soon; drinking butter is generally contraindicated. But the small amount of butter in the classic hot buttered rum won’t hurt you. Basic hot buttered rum is made by simply adding rum to hot spiced cider, and serving it with a pat of butter on top. This recipe, which uses spiced vanilla ice cream as its base, makes for a smoother, creamier version.

Serves ­12

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted ­butter

23⁄4 cups packed light brown ­sugar

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

1 teaspoon ground ­nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ­cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ­cardamom

1 teaspoon vanilla ­extract

12 ounces dark ­rum

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the rum, mixing thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Place the mixture into a plastic container with a lid; seal and freeze.

To prepare the drinks, place 2 heaping tablespoons of the frozen batter in each mug, add 1 ounce of rum and 3⁄4 cup of boiling water. Stir until the batter is completely melted. For a nonalcoholic version, simply omit the rum.


Scandinavian aquavit, literally “water of life,” has not made a tremendous impact on the rest of the world. Maybe it’s because of the unusual caraway-seed taste. In the case of glögg, however, aquavit’s unique flavor so perfectly complements the heated wine that it’s like drinking Christmas itself. The best thing about making glögg the old-fashioned way is the theater involved in preparing it, so be sure to invite your guests into the kitchen to watch the pyrotechnics. You’ll need a fine-mesh wire rack, which you should be able to find at any kitchenware store, to flame the glögg.

Serves 12 to ­15

Two 750 ml bottles full­-­bodied dry red ­wine

20 ­cloves

20 cardamom ­seeds

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ­cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ­nutmeg

8 ounces sugar ­cubes

One 750 ml bottle ­aquavit

1⁄2 cup ­raisins, for garnish

1⁄2 cup sliced ­almonds, for garnish

In a large pot, combine the wine, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and heat over a medium flame until steam rises from the surface and the spices are infused, about 7 minutes. Strain, then transfer about half the mixture to a large bowl.

Place a fine-mesh wire rack over the pot, and arrange the sugar cubes on top. Pour the aquavit over the cubes, making sure to soak them well. Standing back, use a long kitchen match to carefully ignite the sugar cubes, then slowly ladle the reserved wine over them until they have dissolved.

Serve in mugs, garnished with raisins and sliced almonds.

Thai Wings

Grilled Coconut Wings by Christopher B. O'HaraThe secret to making authentic Thai wings is the overnight galangal and chile marinade. Used in Thai cooking, galangal is similar to ginger, and the key spice in many Thai coconut milk-based soups. Here, galangal is combined with turmeric (another close cousin to ginger), coconut milk, garlic, and hot chiles to create wings that have that authentic, spicy Thai flavor. Cool them off with a classic Thai peanut dipping sauce. Galangal can be difficult to find, but don’t worry. Simply substitute 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger for the ground galangal, and your guests will never know. 

For the Thai peanut sauce
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus more to taste
2 fresh Thai chiles or other small chiles
1 1/2-inch-thick slice fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt (add to taste, as fish sauce can be very salty)
1/2 cup finely minced cilantro leaves and stems

For the marinade
2 cups coconut milk
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground galangal (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)
1 tablespoon kosher salt

20 chicken wings, jointed

Serves 4


Make the Thai peanut sauce
1. To make the peanut sauce, add the peanuts along with the peanut oil to a food processor. Blend, on high, until the peanuts form a rough paste. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cilantro; blend until smooth. Stir in the cilantro and thin with peanut oil to taste.

Make the wings
1. To make the marinade, using a food processor, grind the ingredients into a paste the consistency of thin yogurt. Reserve a small amount for basting and transfer the remaining marinade to a glass bowl. Add the cleaned and trimmed chicken wings. Toss liberally, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

2. To grill the wings, shake off the excess marinade and grill the wings over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until crispy. Brush them frequently with the reserved marinade, and be careful not to burn the wing tips. The wings should have a crispy texture with a deep mahogany color when done. Serve with the Thai Peanut Sauce.


Recipe © 2004 Christopher B. O’Hara. All rights reserved.


Jalapeño Dipping Sauce

Perhaps the most popular chile pepper in the world, the jalapeño is a natural for wing sauces. As hot as these stubby green chile peppers may seem, among the hardcore chile pepper fanatics they hardly even rate on the heat scale—rating a “meager” 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville heat units, compared to upwards of 200,000 for habanero peppers! When dried and smoked, jalapeños become chipotle peppers—another spicy but not too intense ingredient often used in salsas. Here’s a simple honey mustard dressing with a spicy jalapeño kick that goes great with any kind of ­wings.

Yields about 3⁄4 ­cup

In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar. Once warm, add the mustard, honey, and jalapeño. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and ­serve.


1⁄2 cup red wine ­vinegar

2 tablespoons ­mustard

1 tablespoon ­honey

1 jalapeño pepper, halved ­lengthwise

Mahogany Wings

Mahogany Wings by Christopher B. O'Hara

Of course, not all wings need to be of the ” Buffalo” or “atomic” variety. These classic mahogany wings are delicious and easy to prepare. In this recipe, you’ll make a simple 24-hour marinade using plum sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and the garlic mixture also known as Peking sauce. These sweet and spicy wings are the perfect accompaniment to a Thai salad or bowl of miso soup.

3/4 cup Chinese plum sauce
1/2 cup Chinese hoisin sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce (or a low sodium version if preferred)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup honey
5 scallions, green and white parts, finely minced
6 garlic cloves, finely minced

30 chicken wings; small wing joint removed



1. In a large bowl, combine the plum sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, honey, scallions, and garlic. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture for basting in a separate small bowl.

2. Add the chicken wings to the large bowl, stir to coat, and place, covered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.

3. Place the wings in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Place them in a preheated 350° F (175°C) oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until crisp and brown. Baste every 10 minutes during cooking, and about 5 minutes before removing the wings from the oven.

Recipe © 2004 Christopher B. O’Hara. All rights reserved.