Made with strong coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and topped with a rich layer of cream, Irish coffee is recognized on January 25.
On a cold, wet day in 1942 weary travelers to the small Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland found their way to a restaurant and chef Joe Sheridan. To warm his guests, he served them hot coffee, spiked with whiskey and topped with whipped cream. The passengers asked if the beverage was Brazilian coffee. Sheridan responded that it was Irish coffee.
A travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, brought Irish coffee to the United States after having it at Shannon Airport.
Delaplane brought the idea to the Buena Vista Cafe on November 10, 1952. After much trial and error, sampling and a trip back to Ireland for a taste of the original, Delaplane along with Buena Vista owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg were able to replicate the delicious coffee and the method for floating the cream on top of the coffee.
How to Make and Authentic Irish Coffee
Starting with a warm glass, fill 2/3rds full of freshly brewed coffee. Stir in a heaping teaspoon of sugar. Add 1 ounce of Irish whiskey.
Adding the cream so it floats is the tricky part. According to the Buena Vista account, and at the suggestion of San Francisco’s mayor, a dairyman, cream that is 48 hours old, is best. However, others recommend whipping cream (not whipped cream) that has been lightly whipped or foamed.
When the coffee has stopped swirling from stirring in the sugar, pour the foamy cream over the back of a spoon.
Here are today’s five thing to know about Irish Coffee:
- The Irish coffee typically consisted of black coffee, sugar, whipped cream, and Irish whiskey.
- Some say it was invented in Ireland and was intended to help travelers keep warm while traveling the Atlantic Ocean.
- It is said that Stanton Delaplane brought the drink to the United States and convinced the Buena Vista bar in San Francisco to put it on their drink menu.
- Tom Bergin’s Tavern in Los Angeles, also claims to have been the originator and has had a large sign in place reading “House of Irish Coffee” since the early 1950s.
- A similar hot Irish drink is called the Hot Irish Monk – cocoa, Frangelica (available kosher in select places) and whiskey.