For book research and an ongoing quest for wakeful drunkenness, I researched some Irish things over the past few months, and collect my learning for you here.
History Ireland has a good summary of how beloved old St Patrick was quite likely a crank who is preserved in history because he wrote stuff down.
Patrick—to his fellow bishops, probably in Ireland, who would have seen his activity at close quarters—had gone completely ‘off message’ with his unique vision of himself as the apocalyptic preacher. Yet by answering these anonymous level-headed pastors, the real founders of Irish Christianity, Patrick became the only one who left a name and any account of evangelising in Ireland!
Which, according to The Guardian leads naturally to Irish Coffee:
Wide awake, I kept looking into this.
Christopher Null in Drinkhacker answers What’s the best whiskey for Irish Coffee?
Good question. I sampled all the Irish I had on hand in coffee and it was a tossup between the standard bottlings of Bushmills and Jameson. The only Irish that didn’t work well was Black Bush, which just didn’t play right with the bitterness of the coffee.
Finally, Jim Slaughter of ineedcoffee claims to make the Best Irish Coffee in the World.
For myself, I replaced sugar with honey – as I often do, and was melting in the microwave when I had an realization: coffee, especially fresh coffee, is hot enough to do the job. This worked well enough for me. I use heavy whipping cream when I have it – if not whole milk.
Oh – and honey is bee puke.
In Beanstalk and Beyond, there is, of course, a magic Harp. I fancied I might find something in folklore from which to draw inspiration – or at least some accurate technical detail.
There was something called the Harp of Dahgda, but that wasn’t quite right.
The harp of our story may be inspired by this artifact though.
For some actual facts, I relied upon Harp.com and The Harp Foundation, whose site plays such soothing music that you might pass out no matter how much coffee, Irish or otherwise, you might have had.
Now you know.