On National Coffee Day we toast to our favorite… Irish Coffee, slainte !
Irish coffee is said to have been created in Ireland in 1943 and later brought to and perfected in the United States in 1952. During a winter storm in 1943 a Pan Am flying boat consisting of American passengers was brought back to Foynes port in County Limerick to wait out the bad weather conditions. The passengers waited inside the Foynes terminal at the restaurant where the staff was instructed to prepare something to warm them up. Joseph Sheridan, the head chef at Foynes, but originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone, decided to put some good Irish Whiskey in their coffee. Mistaken for Brazillian coffee by the passengers, Sheridan then coined it “Irish Coffee”. Upon the closing of Foynes port the Irish Coffee still continued to be served at the Shannon airport.
It is then said that in November of 1952 Jack Koeppler, the then-owner of the Buena Vista, in San Fransico, CA, asked international travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, to help him re-create the Irish Coffee he had recently enjoyed at the Shannon airport on a trip to Ireland . They went to work right away with various recipes and ingredients, but they couldn’t get the taste just right and the cream would just not float. With his goal set Koeppler traveled overseas and back to the Shannon airport to see what he could find out. Upon returning home he finally selected the perfect tasting Irish whiskey for his Irish Coffee recipe. A local dairy owner, and also the mayor of San Francisco, assisted with the cream problem. He determined that when the cream was aged for 48 hours it would float atop the perfectly crafted Irish Coffee recipe. The Buena Vista now serves up to 2,000 Irish Coffees per day!
Irish Coffee has since traveled the world since and the recipe changes from person to person, but here are the steps for the perfect original Irish Coffee recipe as still served by the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in Co. Limerick where the drink was created.