With St. Patrick’s Day coming around again, there will be the usual internet searches for the best Irish Coffee recipe and how to make this great beverage. Irish Coffee uses just four ingredients: coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream.
Although there are tons of variations to making this drink, we think the original is still the best. So look no further as we’ve listed below, in just 5 easy steps how to make the traditional and best Irish coffee, originally created by Joe Sheridan in 1943.
Recipe for Irish Coffee in 5 Easy Steps:
Step 1: Put a teaspoon in a tall Irish Coffee stemmed glass and fill with boiling water for 5 seconds then tip away.
Step 2: Now you’ve got your glass warmed up, put in 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a good measure (approx. 1/3) of Irish whiskey into the glass.
Step 3: Next fill the glass to within 1cm of the brim with good quality, freshly brewed, strong, hot black coffee. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Step 4: Now carefully pour SLIGHTLY whipped heavy cream over the back of the warmed spoon, so it gently floats on top of the coffee (don’t whip the cream too much as it will just sit as a big blob on top of the coffee and won’t let the liquid through).
Step 5: Don’t stir the cream into the coffee as the flavor comes through when the coffee and whiskey flow through the cream. Now just sit back, relax and take your time to enjoy this great Irish Coffee.
History of Irish Coffee
Let’s clear this up, this Irish Coffee recipe didn’t originate in the US like many people believe. Irish coffee was invented at the flying boat terminal at Foynes, an airbase near Shannon, western Ireland.
Joe Sheridan worked as a chef in the restaurant at Foynes airport. On one particularly cold night in 1943, he was asked to serve hot food and drinks to the passengers who had to return to Foynes because their flying boat had hit bad weather on its way to New York.
Sheridan created one of the most iconic beverages that night when he poured Irish whiskey into their coffees and topped it off with floating cream.
Apparently, the name came about when an American passenger asked “is this Brazilian coffee?”, to which Joe answered, “No, it’s Irish Coffee.”
In 1945 Foynes closed and Joe Sheridan began working at a new airport at Rineanna (now Shannon International Airport), where he still served his Irish Coffee.
A well-known travel writer by the name of Stan Delaplane sampled the now traditional welcoming drink and liked it so much that he took the recipe to Jack Koeppler, the owner of the Buena Vista in San Francisco. Unsuccessfully they tried to recreate the Irish Coffee recipe that Stan had tasted in Ireland, but they couldn’t get the cream to stay on top of the coffee.
So in 1952, the Buena Vista offered Joe a position, he accepted, and the rest, as they say, is history as Irish Coffee became an international success.
See how the history of coffee brought you Irish coffee and all the other great coffees.
Check out Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum for more info on the history of Irish Coffee.