The origin of Irish Coffee
If you are over 21 and want to celebrate National Irish Coffee Day with us
The origin of Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee is a coffee cocktail made of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, topped with cream. It is drunk through the cream (meaning you should not eat the cream with a spoon). The drink is believed to be invented in Foynes, a small town in west Ireland. In the 40’s, this small town was the place of one of the busiest airports in Ireland. It was the hub of many passengers flying between Europe and America, including many American politicians and Hollywood stars.
While the airport was a connection hub for refueling, the bad weather in that area many times required longer overnight stops. In 1942, a new restaurant was opened at the airport. The new restaurant was managed by the young Irish Chef, Joe Sheridan. It was in charge of entertaining the American VIP’s and create a better image of Ireland while the passengers are stuck in the airport.
Irish Coffee served first at the airport
The same year, a flight departing from Foynes to New York had to return back to the airport after encountering bad weather. The restaurant was informed to prepare food and drink for the returning passengers. Mr. Sheridan decided to make something special to warm the disappointed customers on that cold night. He made hot coffee, added Irish whiskey, a bit of brown sugar, and added whipped cream on top of each cup.
The surprised passengers have never tried something like that and didn’t know what was is it made of. They asked Mr, Sheridan what is this coffee and he replied “Irish Coffee.” It was such a success that he decided to make it a regular drink at the restaurant.
Irish Coffee in America
You are probably thinking how did it become such a success? After all there are many unique cocktails around the world but not as famous as Irish Coffee. Well, Irish Coffee may never have become so famous had the travel writer, Santon Delaplane, not brought the recipe with him to a bartender in San Francisco. Delaplane brought the recipe to Jack Koeppler, then-owner of the Buena Vista bar in San Francisco, California. Both Delplane and Koeppler tried to replicate Mr. Sheridan’s drink to local customers. As time passed by Mr. Sheridan opened a new restaurant at the more modern Irish airport in Shannon. He brought with him the same Irish Coffee recipe he created at Foynes years before.
By 1952, in San Francisco both Koeppler and Delplane started their own “American Irish Coffee” venture. They tried to perfect the drink and make is as good as Delplane had remembered from his trips to Mr. Sheridan’s restaurant in Ireland. However, they couldn’t understand how to make the cream to float like in the original recipe. They even reached out to then San Francisco's mayor, George Christopher, which was a prominent dairy owner. He recommended to age the cream for 48 hours and have it whipped. It worked - the cream floated, the whiskey was chosen, and the cocktail made many customers around the nation warm and happy!
Celebrate National Irish Coffee Day
National Irish Coffee Day is celebrated every year on January 25th. Make sure to make your own Irish Coffee with instant coffee and enjoy this delicious cocktail with your loved ones. Post your pictures via #irishcoffeeday and #instantisback so we can all see your celebrations.
Irish Coffee Recipe Using Instant Coffee
Here is the recipe of Mr. Sheridan’s Irish Coffee, but with instant coffee instead of brewed coffee (to make it faster!!:).
Heavy whipped cream
Waka Coffee quality instant coffee
- Pre-heat a clear stemmed glass with hot water. Empty the water, and add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.
- In a side mug pour out one packet of Waka Coffee and add 8 FL oz of hot water. Stir until the instant coffee granules are fully dissolved.
- Add the fresh instant coffee to the brown sugar and stir. As soon as the sugar is melted, add two tablespoons of your favorite irish whiskey. Stir again, then wait for the coffee to still.
- Now take a hot teaspoon and pour gently whipped fresh cream slowly over the back of the spoon. The cream should be "half whipped" i.e. not too stiff and not too liquid.
- Drink it and enjoy!!
Watch this video about Buena Vista bar and the story of Irish Coffee.