Southern-Style Irish Coffee


Pinewood Social, located in Nashville’s Rolling Mill Hill area, is a postmodern club where visitors are encouraged to undo their ties. Pinewood is separated into four different areas: a coffee shop, a casual restaurant, a cocktail bar, and an activity area with private karaoke rooms and a bowling alley.

For the bar, Josh Habiger from Strategic Hospitality created a menu showcasing Americana dating back to the mid-1800s. Starters include kale Caesar salad, a classic shrimp cocktail, fried cheese curds with pepper aioli, and chicken livers on toast. Entrées include a beef-tongue Rueben sandwich, a cheeseburger, fried chicken, and pot roast with roasted carrots and turnips, and gravy. The food is good, but it is at its best when chased with the drinks developed by beverage director Matt Tocco. The pair suggests imbibing the Southern Limerick when winter winds begin to rattle the windows.

“We wanted to create an Irish coffee, which most people think means Baileys and coffee, but it really means Irish whiskey, cream, and brown sugar,” says Tocco. They wanted to create a warm, creamy, boozy drink that people could sip. “We chose the rye whiskey for the spiciness, the Meletti is a nice Italian amaro, and then we floated the cream on top.” They also add some Angostura bitters to provide a spiced scent.

“One reason I think the rye and Meletti work so well is the coffee itself is really winey and fruity,” says Nathaneal Mehrens, who manages the coffee bar and uses Konga coffee from Ethiopia for the drink. “The spiciness of the rye and the deep caramel notes of the Meletti really round out the flavor and make for a well-balanced drink. I think it’s pretty cool that the flavor characteristics of this coffee still come through, even with the booze and cream.”

Southern Limerick
(Makes one cocktail)



In a preheated 7 oz glass, add the rich demerara syrup, Meletti amaro, rye, and brewed coffee. Stir. For a whipped topping, lightly whip cold cream and a little demerara syrup in a squeeze bottle. Use a barspoon to float 1/4 inch of sweetened, whipped cream on top of the drink, and finish with atomized Angostura bitters.

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