Is the news extra bad? Does the world seem like it's on fire? Let me introduce you to the perfect cocktail for the anxiety-laced times we live in: whiskey in coffee. It's not fancy, like an Irish coffee, and it's not festive, like a French 75. It's a matter-of-fact drink that should appear on more brunch menus, alongside mimosas and bloody marys. As the days get shorter and winter looms ahead, a little bit of whiskey in hot coffee becomes a more and more appealing prospect for a chilly evening or a brisk Saturday morning.
It's such a classic combination that you can already buy coffee that's flavored with Jack Daniels, or coffee that's been aged in old whiskey barrels. But you don't need to be fancy. The methodology is simple: Make coffee to your liking. Add whiskey to your liking. Pretty much any whiskey will do. I prefer bourbon, because it adds a touch of sweetness and heft. (Scotch works too, but the result will be smokier.) And recently, my preferred bourbon has been Jim Beam Vanilla, the perfect whiskey to add to coffee.
On its own, Jim Beam Vanilla (or JBV as some friends on a recent trip dubbed it) is too sweet for me. I like to sip whiskey with a little water, usually, and this is not a sippin' whiskey. I would also not do a shot of it, but my shot days are mostly behind me anyway. But this baby really shines as a mixer. That vanilla note stands up to the bitterness of coffee, and elevates the whiskey and coffee into something just a little bit fancier. It's an ideal tailgating beverage. It's a little bit dirtbag, a little bit chic. And it's how I plan to get through winter.