Irish Coffee (Protestant)

Dressel's, 419 North Euclid Avenue, 314-361-1060

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There are days when the best of your emotions -- those gentle, forgiving, lovely, tender impulses -- hover at the surface, float through your blood like leaves down a stream, blood thinned with Irish coffee but thickened back to the perfect consistency by the glorious whipped cream making a beeline for the sandy banks of your arteries. Days when the pretty emotions trump the ugly ones and make your eyes glassy with tears not bitter but sweet, when a soft smile from a passing stranger means more than she will ever know and your bounceback grin carries more genuine love for humankind that she could ever fathom, let alone carry. Days when even Hallmark Moments seem understated, and you, you look like heaven.

If this ethereal, overcast, gosh-dang glory of a morning is the result of one Irish coffee (Protestant) consumed the night prior at Dressel's, well, then, we've got a bold new plan for living. The beverage involves coffee, Bushmills Irish whiskey and whipped cream, the result of which is, according to upstairs barkeep Johnny Brookheart, the Protestant version of Irish coffee, because back in the day, Bushmills was cheaper, and thus more proletarian, and thus more Protestant, than a similar concoction made with Jameson Irish whiskey, then a tad pricier, and thus, an Irish coffee (Catholic). So he says, and we believe him, because the 'keeps at Dressel's know their cocktails. There is, of course, the perpetually stoic John Berg downstairs servicing you with nary an emotion -- just an amazing touch; and, upstairs most nights, Brookheart, a great guy, holding court over the paneled room, fireplace burning, jazz on the system, a few kind souls conversing with a loudmouth dude talking about the DOS, the inventor of the Internet and "the oscillations of super neutron stars." Tune it out, darling, tune it out; he's drunk. Enjoy the Irish coffee (Protestant), served below a dollop of whipped cream that, after a few gravity-defying moments when all is perfect in the mug, starts to fall in beautiful white streaks into the coffee, slowly, like a meteor shower.

It's beautiful, in the cup, this itsy chemistry display. On brown days the collapsing cream would be proof that all things perfect soon decay; on days like this, golden days in which you fit snugly into this world, and are loved, the decay is proof that, like everything that rises, all that falls must too converge, and that convergence can be magical, and can gently poke through that ironclad exterior of yours, the one you try so desperately to keep bolted in place.

Or maybe we're just overtired.

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