Things We Love: Bushmills x Root & Branch Irish Coffee

December 23, 2017

Irish whiskey plus coffee? Sure, you’ve had an Irish Coffee before (and if you haven’t, by all means, please correct that wrong soon!). But what if you started by seasoning the coffee beans in Irish whiskey barrels? Well, the folks over at Bushmills have collaborated with Belfast coffee roastery Root & Branch to do just that.

Former Bushmills Irish whiskey casks were used to season coffee beans before roasting to create the ultimate Irish Coffee. “The similarities between coffee roasting and whiskey making are striking and there is much overlap,” says Simon Johnson, co-owner of Root & Branch Roastery. “For distillers and roasters alike, we work with raw materials that require constant attention at every stage and a level of precision to get it just right.“

Root & Branch Roasters Simon Johnson and Ben Craig at Bushmills 

The coffee, sourced from a single estate in Brazil, was selected especially for this collaboration. Johnson explains, “We chose an elegant yet simple green coffee bean that would instantly pick up the malt-rich flavor and notes of honey, fresh fruit and vanilla—iconic to Bushmills Original—when matured in the former whiskey cask.”

So, how do you get your hands on some? As of December 6, the Bushmills x Root & Branch coffee and Bushmills Irish Whiskey pack is available for purchase on, with a suggested retail price $49.99. That’s right. The Bushmills seasoned coffee beans and a bottle of Bushmills Original. Once you’ve got those two, the hardest part will be making the whipped cream.

Ben Craig and Simon Johnson 

Want to take this Irish Coffee an even higher level? Natasha David from Nightcap in New York City has developed the Bushmills REAL IRISH Coffee recipe shown below. This recipe and brewing tips from Root & Branch accompany the pack.

I got a little preview of the coffee and couldn’t wait to brew a cup. Being a fan of both coffee and whiskey, I’ve actually had coffee seasoned in whiskey barrels before (I know…it’s a hard life being me). But the whiskey flavor didn’t completely overwhelm the coffee here, unlike some others I’ve had. The beans and whiskey pair well together with a lovely “malty”, quality which I enjoyed even without the whiskey. But of course, I had it with the whiskey.

Bushmills x Root & Branch Irish Coffee 

This complimentary quality is exactly what Root & Branch was going for. Explains Johnson, “Growing up in Belfast our families have enjoyed Bushmills Irish Whiskey for generations and so we wanted the coffee flavors to compliment the rich, characterful taste of Bushmills Original that we’ve known all our lives while simultaneously offering depth to the classic Irish Coffee cocktail.”

Do yourself a favor and give this combination a go.

Bushmills REAL IRISH Coffee

– 2 oz Bushmills Original
– 1/2 oz Brown Sugar Almond Syrup
– 6 oz Bushmills Coffee

Build all ingredients in a warm Irish Coffee mug. Top with a generous dollop of vanilla scented whipped cream. Garnish with freshly grated orange zest.

To make the Vanilla Scented Whipped Cream
– 1 cup fresh whipping cream
– 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
– 1 tsp. pure vanilla syrup

Whip the cream until you get soft peaks. Add sugar and extract and whip until incorporated. Store in fridge.
Yield: about 2 cups (10 servings)

To make the Brown Sugar Almond Syrup
– 2 cups Sugar in the Raw
– 1 cup water
– 1 tsp. almond extract

In a blender, combine sugar and water and blend until sugar is dissolved. Add extract and blend until incorporated.

Please Note: Limited availability for the package, but expectations are to have a supply until St. Patrick’s Day 2018.

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