The west coast of Ireland saw the drink being invented on a winter’s night in the 1940s.
A much loved winter warmer, Irish coffee is both a cocktail and coffee. It is a blend of coffee, cream, whiskey and sugar, and is an important part of Ireland’s food and drink culture. The boozy, sugary coffee might not be the ideal drink to have with breakfast but makes a great cocktail on a rainy night.
The west coast of Ireland saw the drink being invented on a winter’s night in the 1940s. A chef and bartender, Joe Sheridan, prepared the concoction to warm up cold passengers at Foyne’s Port near Limerick. The story goes that a transatlantic flight left the terminal for New York on the 25th of January 1943. A few hours into the flight, it was found that it needed to return due to bad weather. Once the flight landed, the tired passengers were taken to the restaurant where Joe Sheridan worked. One passenger went up to Sheridan to thank him and ask if the drink was Brazilian coffee. Sheridan replied that it was Irish coffee, and so Irish coffee was born.
Irish coffee was introduced to the United States by writer Stanton Delaplane in 1952. Delaplane gave a bartender at Buena Vista hotel in San Francisco the idea after he had tried the drink and loved it. This led to Irish coffee becoming popular across the world. Today, it is estimated that the Buena Vista hotel serves around 2,000 Irish coffees everyday, and all of these use Joe Sheridan’s original recipe. Sheridan was even offered a job at the Buena Vista, which he accepted, since the owners and Delaplane were unable to recreate Irish coffee.
To make the perfect Irish coffee, a glass must be preheated by pouring hot water in it. Then, coffee must be poured and sugar must be stirred in. Whiskey needs to follow, and be stirred again. The cream should be added last and allowed to float on top, through which the coffee must be drunk.
This is how Irish coffee is traditionally made, although different versions of it have now popped up across the globe. It takes skill to prepare and goes beyond just spiking a cup of coffee with whiskey.