Iced Coffee

Is there anything more beautiful than half and half swirling into a tall glass of cold coffee on ice? Let me qualify that, is there anything more beautiful on a hot day in August?

I will now confess to something quite disgusting, although you will have to be the judge of whether it was as disgusting as what Laurie Colwin and her sister did (which was collecting all the leftover coffee from cups at the breakfast table and pouring that over ice). I think what I did was worse or maybe equally gross.

The other day, I made too much coffee for myself and a friend and I let it cool down on the counter for a future iced coffee and forgot about it for a few days…Then, driven by too much time with my cooped up, too hot children, I became desperate for iced coffee. Only instant gratification would do. I looked at the glass, and thought ew, for about 2 seconds, then shrugged and dumped in some ice cubes and a swirl of half and half. 10 minutes of unadulterated bliss – it was like a mini vacation. It should have been disgusting but, I have to report, it really was not.

I recommend making extra coffee in the morning to cool properly in a glass in the refrigerator to ice later. Usually I forget to do this and pour hot coffee over ice and then add the cream. Unfortunately hot coffee does not produce the best swirl of cream and coffee, which should be akin to Italian marbled endpapers, and which is intrinsic to the ultimate iced coffee experience. At least in my book.┬áThe appeal of the swirl is more than just aesthetic. With a good swirl, there are rivulets of cream and coffee throughout the glass. Sometimes you get a sip of pure coffee, sometimes mostly cream, then varying combinations of the two. It’s the most delicious thing.

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