Neil Young’s song “Cinnamon Girl” inspired this drink, and like the song’s famous one-note guitar solo, it’s pretty straightforward. In another of his songs, “Ordinary People,” Young sings about “hard-working people stopping for a drink on the way to work.” I recommend waiting until after work to enjoy this adaptation of a classic Irish coffee.
40 mL spiced or amber rum
1 tbsp honey
1 lemon or lime wedge
2 tsp cinnamon sugar (plus extra for rim glass)
Freshly brewed coffee
Run the citrus wedge around the rim of a coffee mug and spread cinnamon sugar on a dish. Roll the dampened edge around in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Once the coffee is ready, pour into the mug while still very hot and immediately add 2 tsp of cinnamon sugar plus the honey. Stir to combine and let cool slightly before adding rum and garnishing with a cinnamon stick.
To improve the taste at the cost of a little extra work, use cinnamon simple syrup instead of cinnamon sugar and honey. Bring to a boil 1 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water and add 4 cinnamon sticks; once the combination has reduced to about 1 cup of syrup, discard the sticks and store the syrup in the fridge for up to one week.
Use a light- or medium-roast coffee to avoid overpowering the cinnamon and rum flavours. Try substituting the rum with an Irish Cream if you dislike black coffee. To make the drink more like a true Irish coffee, use whiskey rather than rum and top with whipped heavy cream and a sprinkle of ground nutmeg.
Best enjoyed with a pastry next to a fireplace (or a Jennings muffin next to a res-room radiator).