A couple months ago, the hospitality world learned of an ambitious plan for a new industry symposium, Chicago Style. Founded by Shelby…
- Base Spirit Whiskey
- Preparation In Glass
- Flavor Bittersweet
- Served Hot
The Irish Coffee lays claim to one of the greatest origin stories of all cocktails. In the early ’40’s, Pan Am was running flying boat flights direct from New York to Limerick, Ireland. One night, the weather got particularly brutal and one flying boat was forced to turn back to Foynes, Limerick’s airport.
A group of cold American travelers disembarked into the terminal. Chef Joe Sheridan was called back to work at the airport to offer some food and comfort to the Americans. Sheridan quickly whipped up a warming mix of local whiskey, coffee, and cream.
Legend has it that one passenger asked, “Is this coffee Brazilian?” and Sheridan replied, “No, this is Irish coffee!”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the drink continue to accrue local fame in Foynes until 1951 when Stanton Delaplane, the Chronicle’s Pulitzer Prize winning journalist visited Ireland. Delaplane was so amazed by the drink that when he got back to the day, he worked with his local watering hole, the Buena Vista Cafe, to replicate the libation.
The drink went on to become a signature for the Buena Vista which sold countless Irish Coffees over the years. In fact, the cafe even hired Sheridan who relocated to the States and lived out his days in the East Bay.
On the other hand, Delaplane eventually got sick of the beverage. He famously quoted a friend who said, “The Irish Coffee ruins three good drinks: coffee, cream, and whiskey.”
Photo by Rudolph Fink (CC2.0)
- Lightly whip the cream. Reserve.
- Fill your Irish coffee glass with hot water to preheat, then pour it out.
- Pour hot coffee into the glass.
- Put in sugar cubes and stir until dissolved.
- Add the whiskey.
- Top it off with the cream. Pour over a spoon so the layers stay separated.