I had my first Irish coffee (ever, in my life) at de Vere’s in Davis on some cold weekend morning probably about a year ago. I fell in love. I wish I could say that I have had many more since that first one, however, dieting and Irish coffees don’t really go well together. Regardless, I have splurged occasionally on a deVere’s Irish Coffee a handful of times, and each time the drink was delicious.
When I heard of the Irish Coffee Challenge, I thought it would be hard to beat the thick cream and well balanced sweetness of the de Vere’s version. But, the thought of going to the Buena Vista in SF was alluring. Especially because my wife has extended family that have tended the bar there for decades (Larry and Paul).
So, on December 21, 2013, my wife and I made plans to have a de Vere’s Irish Coffee in the morning, then meet up with my in-laws for dinner in SF and a visit to the Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee.
The morning visit to de Vere’s went well. We told the bartender, Topher, that we were partaking of the challenge. He did not disappoint. The coffee came out beautifully, and tasted as good as any I’d ever had. It made me wish I didn’t have a million things to do so that I could hang out and drink Irish coffee’s all day.
Later that same day, we made it to the Buena Vista for a night cap of Irish Coffee. My wife’s relatives were not working that night (they typically have day shifts, presumably because they have some serious seniority after working there for 40ish years), so we were served by a friendly non-related bartender. The BV coffee came out with a little less cream, and the cream looked thinner than the de Vere’s version. I also noticed that the bartender did not float the cream with a spoon, but rather used a deft pour to add the cream. With the first sip, it was clear which Irish Coffee was the best…
The de Vere’s cream was substantially better than the BV cream. (As you can see in the photos, I couldn’t let any of the cream go to waste.) The appearance was definitely in favor of de Vere’s. The coffee was about equal at both establishments, although BV did have the hotter coffee. The whiskey flavor was also about equal. Overall, my wife and I both think the de Vere’s version comes together better, looks better, and is easily the winner. My wife says that the next rainy Saturday morning you will find her drinking Irish coffees in the de Vere’s library, reading Irish poems. 🙂