It felt almost sinful adding a full measure of golden, smoky Lagavulin into the perfect ristretto, but I had vowed and declared that I was going to attempt an Irish coffee the likes of which I would rarely see again.
Lagavulin is a single malt whisky produced on Islay (pronounce aye-la) and is one of the finest of the whiskys I have tried.
I was introduced to single malts by Kamran of Fiori Coffee - clearly a bloke who appreciates the finer things in life, and a colleague of mine introduced me to Lagavulin in particular.
It is a rare pleasure that I allow myself and it is an amazing thing to sip - smoky peat, almost medicinal and totally absorbing.
My preferred way to drink it is just with a little water to soften the alcohol - not adding water can actually detract from the experience as the alcohol burns away the subtleties.
I had not a few 'ethical' concerns about adulterating fine coffee with whisky on one side and adulterating fine whisky with coffee on the other.
My concerns were totally unnecessary - the sheer might of this particular single malt means that nothing was lost in combination with the coffee and cream and many aspects were enhanced.
It was a sublime experience and I would highly recommend it - DO NOT TRY THIS WITH SOMETHING CHEAP.
There, I've said it - you just can't do this with cheap spirits. Buy something that you are happy to sip on its own and you will be in the right ballpark.
The coffee I used was a blend I roasted last week comprised of Columbian Supremo (organic), Ethiopian Yirgacheff and El Salvadorian Bella Vista estate beans - it was a well rounded espresso blend and did not dominate the drink I made but did support the smokiness of the whisky beautifully.
Image Source: Wikipedia - Lagavulin