24 Karat Irish Coffee whiskey - Chila 'Orchata - spiced coffee - coconut cream - gold

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Chila ‘Orchata. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Next week is St. Patrick’s Day, and while some of you out there might be stockpiling green food coloring and cheap beer, I implore you, back away from that green squeeze bottle and pick up… a coffee.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comNow there might be some purists out there who like their Irish Coffee in the straight, no nonsense way: Irish whiskey, coffee, cream. And that’s all good and fine, but I did not create this website to just stick to the classics. So, for those of you looking for a way to make an Irish Coffee even better (yes, I am saying I like my version better), then let’s talk about how to do just that.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comI’ll just say that we’re going to leave the Irish whiskey where it is; you really don’t need to change that part. But now here’s the fun parts: Chila ‘Orchata and spiced coffee syrup. Today we’re teaming up with Chila ‘Orchata, the most delicious blend of Puerto Rican rum, real dairy cream, Tahitian vanilla, and cinnamon, to make an iced version of this classic drink. Why iced? Because I drink about 3 cups of iced coffee a day and prefer that over hot. Also, I get to make more yummy coffee syrup this week and change it up by adding some warm spices to it. Playing off of the vanilla and cinnamon in the Chila ‘Orchata, I’m adding some additional cinnamon and star anise to the coffee syrup; it’ll be a warm spice bomb to the chilled booze.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comAnd while you could definitely top yours off with plain old whipped cream, I’m going the coconut cream route with just a touch of sweetness from maple syrup. You can actually pick up coconut whipped cream at the grocery store now, but if you have a can of coconut cream at home and a whipper, I’m including how to make it in the notes below. The coconut cream pairs really well with the cinnamon and spices, and I prefer mine barely sweetened to offset the sweetness in the drink (another plus to making your own coconut whipped cream is the ability to control the sugar going into it).

Because it’s not St. Patrick’s Day without a little gold, I’m garnishing the whole thing with edible gold leaf. It maaaay be too pretty to drink, but I’ll try anyway. And I hope you do too! Cheers!

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.com24 Karat Irish Whiskey

2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 ounce Chila ‘Orchata
1 ounce spiced coffee syrup, see recipe below
1 shot espresso, chilled (optional, see note below)
whipped coconut cream (see note below)
edible gold leaf

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine the Irish whiskey, Chila ‘Orchata, spiced coffee syrup and espresso shot, if using. Shake for 20 seconds and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Top with whipped coconut cream and a gold leaf garnish.

Spiced Coffee Syrup

½ cup strong espresso
¾ cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise, whole

Combine espresso with sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to almost a boil and lower to a simmer. Add cinnamon and star anise. Reduce until thickened about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Will keep up to 2 weeks.


  • If you like your coffee bev to be even more coffee-y, you can add in an additional shot of espresso.
  • To make your own coconut whipped cream using a whip cream canister: add the solids from a can of chilled coconut cream (refrigerate the can for 3+ hours in advance) into the canister with about one tablespoon of the coconut water from the can. Then pour in 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup to taste or leave out if you prefer unsweetened. Attach the nozzle, give a good shake to combine, and charge the canister with N2O. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep for 2-3 days refrigerated. I use this whipped cream dispenser and these N2O cartridges.

For more information on Chila ‘Orchata, please visit their website at chilaorchata.com.

Cranberry Especial Cocktail

Cranberry Especial Cocktail // stirandstrain.comLast night I made a batch of cranberry sauce. Don’t worry, I realize Thanksgiving is still a week away and no, I’m not going crazy with early prep. It’s actually for a project that you guys will hear about next week. Anyway, it was delicious. It’s also a reminder of how food has changed in my life.

Cranberry Especial Cocktail // stirandstrain.comWhen I was a young person, I had no idea what real cranberries looked like, apart from some illustrations on a bottle of cran-apple juice, and for me, cranberry sauce was cylindrical and had ridges. This was just an accepted fact until I actually ate real homemade cranberry sauce. I don’t remember liking it very much. It was too tart and soupy and where was all the sugar?! Now we make cranberry sauce at home every year and once in awhile I will eat out someplace that still uses canned. It’s more a novelty now; like eating Twinkies. Twinkies are pretty gross now to me, as are most of those grocery store goodies I used to crave.

This isn’t a rant by the way about processed foods and being a food snob. Mainly standing over the stove making the sauce last night just reminded me about how much I’ve come to appreciate and love home cooked food.

Cranberry Especial Cocktail // stirandstrain.comAlso, that I actually really like cranberries too. And so here is your token cranberry holiday cocktail because Thanksgiving is next week. And… cranberries!

1-1/2 ounces Oloroso Sherry, Williams & Humbert Dry Sack 15 year Oloroso used here
3/4 ounce unsweetened cranberry juice, Knudsen’s used here
1/2 ounce gold rum, Phraya used here
1/2 ounce simple syrup, see note above
2 dashes orange bitters such as Fee Brothers
orange peel for garnish

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine sherry, cranberry juice, rum, simple syrup and bitters. Shake well about 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange peel.

I created this drink for Serious Eats as a lighter, lower ABV cocktail that you can drink at your holiday party and not get tanked with. I chose the Dry Sack Oloroso style, with its dry, sweet and nutty profile, as my perfect match for cranberries. The sweetness of the sherry also balances the lip-puckering tartness of the cranberry juice. And using real unsweetened cranberry juice here instead of a syrup helps to lighten the dense and potentially sticky mouthfeel of sherry. (Using a heavy syrup alongside of an Oloroso might have been, well, too much of a good thing.) Because sherry has only 20% ABV, the drink makes for a nice, lighter alcohol aperitif to start your evening. An extra half ounce of gold rum added to the drink gives more spicy depth to the drink without adding much boozy punch or detracting from the sherry’s flavor.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Gold Standard

When something is covered in gold it makes it special, right? Unless you’re Jill Masterson; then you’re an unfortunate casulty of a James Bond love affair. But let’s not get bogged down with my obsession with the James Bond franchise. Let’s talk gifts! Of Gold! For cocktails!

Holiday Gift Guides: Gold // stirandstrain.com


I’m sorry if you were expecting a certain gold-flecked liquor, instead I’m opting for some gold-wrapped champagne to top your cocktail. Make sure you mix it up nice with some blindingly beautiful accessories. And when you’re done, that bar cart is sure a nice way to store everything.

1. Southern Hemisphere Double Old Fashioned Glass 2. Brignac Brut Gold Champange 3. Gold Bar Spoon 4. Gold Jigger 5. Polka Dot Coasters 6. 18K Gold Cocktail Shaker 7. Bar Cart 8. Gold Stripe Straws

In Other News

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Do you know the perfect gift for the cocktail enthusiast in your life? Care to share? Leave a comment so shopping is a little less awful for everyone else this year.