Really a cocktail disguised as a coffee drink, Irish coffee is just the ticket when you need a warm, potent drink to offset the chill outside. This combination of strong, sweetened coffee and whiskey, all topped with fluffy whipped cream that slowly melts and melds into the drink while you sip, is just as delicious on a leisurely holiday morning as it is after dinner. With the help of a slow cooker, you can make a big batch that stays warm and so people can serve themselves when they want a hit of something boozy and caffeinated.
Dark brown sugar adds a nice caramel flavor to the strong coffee and balances out the fierceness of the whiskey while it heats up in the slow cooker. While it's heating, take the time to whip up some cream with a touch more brown sugar, then just stick it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Whipped cream can hold in the fridge for a few hours, or you can set the bowl of whipped cream in a bowl of ice next to the slow cooker instead for easy access.
Slow Cooker Irish Coffee
8 cups (2 quarts) water
1 cup ground dark-roasted coffee
2 cups Irish whiskey
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups chilled heavy cream
Grated chocolate, for serving (optional)
Brew the coffee with the 8 cups of water in a standard drip coffeemaker. (Alternatively, do it in batches in a French press.) Transfer to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
Add the whiskey and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and stir to combine. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until heated through and steaming, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed (about 1 1/2 minutes) or by hand until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, fill a mug with 8 ounces of the coffee mixture. Top with about 1/4 cup of the cream and grated chocolate if desired.
Make ahead: The whipped cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.