Some days you just want something simple. No muss, no fuss, as they say. Asked what he wanted in life, a friend of my father’s once said, “What every man wants, a peaceful existence.” That sounds pretty good today. I checked the news and things seem nice and boring. Well not quite boring, there are some possibly earth-shattering things going on in the market as a bunch of folks use reddit to turn the tables on hedge fund managers, showing just how ridiculous it is that “short selling” is even legal while also exposing just how much more equal some animals are than others in the eye of US finance law. If there was ever a house of cards that could use a burning down, well they may have found it. Me, I’m feeling like a coffee, maybe some acoustic music from a band only the cool kids have heard of, enjoyed on an old overstuffed sofa, with good friends and maybe a little poetry. So, won’t you please join me for a quiet evening as we stand and make the Coffee House.
This is a serious drink, for serious drinkers, allegedly. It is a prohibition cocktail technically and is one of the first coffee based cocktails in the pantheon, arriving on the scene well ahead of Irish Coffee or the Espresso Martini, which is not even a martini. The Coffee House first appears in the 1930 “The Saloon in the Home or a Garland of Rumblossoms” a satirical cocktail manual by George Chappell and Ridgely Hunt. I wonder why we don’t do the whole “or” thing when it comes to titles anymore? Not that I like the practice, I just wonder when it fell out of favor. It always looks like the creative team didn’t have a coin to flip and finally compromised into “let’s just use them both.” Did you expect anything better from creativity by committee? A “satirical cocktail manual”, seriously?
Grab your mixing pitcher and toss in 1 3/4 ounces of rye, I went with James E. Pepper 1776; 1/2 an ounce of coffee liqueur, I opted for Indiana’s finest Songbird Coffee Liqueur, cause the kid said to “put a bird in it” and 2 dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters. Add ice and stir to the some suitable coffee house fare, how about Mockingbird Time by The Jayhawks? The six of you who have ever heard of it, please take your seats of honor right up by the stage. When well blended, strain into a rocks glass over a large cube, express an orange peel over the drink before dropping it in casually as a nod to obligatory garnish.
Obviously, this is booze forward, but I like it. This riff on the Old-Fashioned was originally made with actual black coffee and demerara syrup. I can see how that worked and why the coffee liqueur is more interesting, but if you need to soften this one I can see that adding a little dem would do the trick nicely, it might even be fun to pop a little cream in there the next time. Not that the drink needs any improvement, but experimenting is fun and what the hell else do you have to do on this still grounded by Covid-19 Friday night?
So, there’s my simple drink for yet another boring evening at home. Perfect for pretending that you are actually in some little coffee house, waiting for friends to arrive. You can act like the kid is that weird guy who just wanders around as if he were lost, who you later realize is an employee, just not a very god one. The only real upside to your home coffee house, is you can fast forward through songs you don’t like and you can play Candyland in your underwear without worry of reprisal. To be fair, I have been to some establishments where that was not only permitted but encouraged, but they almost always have a cover charge and a two drink minimum. Look at it this way, you may not get to go out, but at least drinking from home you can can be comfortable while saving on uber fares and you probably won’t get hit on by the dude who keeps going through the vinyl collection looking for some Luke Bryan “to get this place bumping” and asking “who the hell is Joni Mitchell?” Yeah, that’s worth staying home to avoid. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.