I have often heard the expression that, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish”. In the age of globalization, it is not difficult to fully share in the ‘luck of the Irish’, by enjoying a classic Irish Coffee, in an Irish Pub with delicious food. When should you drink Irish Coffee? We say drink it whenever you feel the need for something that will warm you to your toes. Is Irish Coffee made with whiskey good for your health? Well, my grandfather Peter would drink an Irish Coffee every Friday night after dinner, and he lived to be ninety-seven.
The Irish Coffee was created in the winter of 1943 by Joe Sheridan, chef at Foynes Port near Limerick. Foynes was an airbase for transatlantic flights at the time that often carried political or Hollywood figures. The airbase was usually just a stop over for longer flights to refuel and often due to weather passengers would need to stay for the night. A new restaurant was created to cater to these dignified passengers.
One evening, a particular flight had to turn back to Foynes mid way through its journey. Joe Sheridan, feeling empathy for these cold and weary passengers decided to whip up something special for them to drink. The story goes that a silence descended into the space as everyone enjoyed this delectable concoction.
According to the legend, the name came about with the following exchange:
"Hey Buddy," said a surprised American passenger, "is this Brazilian coffee?" "No," said Joe, "that's Irish Coffee."
The Irish Coffee was a huge success and became an airport specialty. In 1952, after the war, the Irish Coffee was introduced to the United States, by travel writer, Stanton Delaplane. He brought it to the attention of Jack Koeppler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco and persuaded him to recreate it.
The cream kept sinking when Koeppler tried to make the drink, so he traveled to the source, Joe Sheridan in Limerick, Ireland to learn the correct way to make this new coffee sensation.
Joe Sheridan serving Irish Coffee to Marilyn Monroe
This is the recipe offered by Joe Sheridan, to make a true Irish Coffee:
Cream - Rich as an Irish Brogue
Coffee - Strong as a Friendly Hand
Sugar - Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue
Whiskey - Smooth as the Wit of the Land
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Irish Coffee Ingredients
- 4 ounces strong rich hot coffee
- 1 1/2 ounce Irish Whiskey
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 ounce lightly whipped double cream
HOW TO MAKE IT
How to make Irish Coffee
- Pour the sugar then coffee into a warm , mug or other heat-proof glass.
- Stir until dissolved.
- Add the Irish whiskey and stir again.
- Float the cream on top by pouring it over the back of a spoon. Do not stir again. Instead, drink the coffee through the cream.
The coffee plays a supporting role to the other key components, so brew up your favorite bean and make sure it's hot before beginning. Read below for information on this simple coffee cocktail.
Use Only Irish Whiskey for Classic Irish Coffee
There is no question about it, Irish coffee should be made with an Irish Whisky and love. Choose something in the mid-range with a mild, sweet finish to counter the bitter coffee. When made with an 80-proof whiskey in the measurements given in the recipe, the Irish Coffee is:
A Few Popular Variations on Irish Coffee
- Fill glass with hot water to preheat, then empty.
- Drop in 2 sugar cubes. Pour hot coffee into hot glass until it is about three quarters full.
- Stir until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
- Add Irish whiskey for proper taste and body. Don’t stir!
- Top with a collar of lightly whipped cream by pouring gently over the convex side of a spoon. Enjoy it while piping hot.
In a tall glass, add hit brewed coffee, Baileys, and Irish whiskey, then stir well. Do a quick taste test; if you'd like it to be sweeter, add up to 1 tsp light brown sugar, then stir.
If desired, top Irish coffee with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and more brown sugar.
Source: Bailey's Irish Coffee Recipe
The Ireland Whiskey Trail: Irish Coffee
Spruce: Original Irish Coffee Recipe and Its History
The Kitchn: How To Make Classic Irish Coffee