The Story Behind The Seamstress Irish Coffee

“Don’t overthink the coffee,” Pam Wiznitzer says, floating a layer of hand-whipped cream atop two steaming cocktails in Georgian glassware. “People think they should use espresso. You want regular, drip coffee.”

Wiznitzer is creative director of Seamstress, an elegant cocktail spot on New York's Upper East Side. Her take on Irish coffee is inspired in part by the version served at The Dead Rabbit, the lauded NYC destination where she worked until 2014. She also swears by Slane, a triple-casked Irish whiskey, and a two-to-one ratio of Demerara to water in her simple syrup. Both have enough flavor and body to complement coffee’s heft, she says.

When cocktail legend Dale DeGroff was developing the Irish coffee at The Dead Rabbit, he swapped white sugar for brown in his simple syrup for similar reasons. “I added the brown sugar because I wanted the depth,” he told VinePair in 2016.

Details matter in this drink. It requires carefully chosen ingredients and calibrated proportions. The result here is velvety smooth and compulsively drinkable — no overthinking necessary.


  • 1 3/4 ounces Slane Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Demerara simple syrup (2 to 1, sugar to water)
  • 2 1/2 ounces hot coffee
  • 1 ounce cream float (recipe follows)


  1. In a heatproof Georgian glass, add Slane Irish Whiskey, Demerara simple syrup and coffee.
  2. Leave room at the top for the heavy cream.
  3. Stir gently.
  4. Float a thin layer of cream on top.
  5. Garnish with a healthy grating of fresh cinnamon.

Rate This Recipe:

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Yield: 1
Updated: 2018-05-15

Cream Float Ingredients

  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 3 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • Pinch freshly grated cinnamon

Cream Float Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a Mason jar or protein shaker.
  2. Cover and shake for 20-30 seconds. (Do not overshake. The consistency should become denser, but still pourable.)
In this elegant spin on the traditional Irish coffee cocktail, Pam Wiznitzer of NYC's The Seamstress uses Irish whiskey and freshly whipped cream.