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Northern Lights (a.k.a. Greenlandic) Coffee


A popular - and showstopping - after-dinner coffee drink in Greenland's restaurants is "Greenlandic Coffee." I'm not sure who originally invented it (please write and let me know if you do!), but it has become quite commonplace - and rightly so, for few coffee drinks are served with such panache. The whisky is said to represent Greenland's harsh weather, the Kahlua - its sweetness (or, in one version I've encountered, the sweetness of its women!), the coffee - the darkness of its polar nights, the whipped cream - its icebergs, and the blue-flaming Grand Marnier - the northern lights. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. whisky (Irish, Canadian, or bourbon)
  • 2 Tbsp. Kahlua
  • 1 cup black, hot coffee
  • 2/3 cup whipped cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier


For two servings:

Pour 1 Tbsp. of whisky and 1 Tbsp. of Kahlua into each of two stemmed, heat-resistant wine glasses (Irish coffee glasses work perfectly for this). Heat the glass over a candle flame or spirit burner to warm and combine the whiskey.

Pour 1/2 cup of coffee into each glass, then top with 1/3 cup of the whipped cream on each.

Using a long-handed spoon or small ladle, carefully set the Grand Marnier alight over the flame and pour it, flaming, into each glass.

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