We often write about fun cocktails that have cool travel history, although sometimes I look up drinks and find out there is no real history there, no connection to a culture or tradition, but Irish coffee actually surprised me. I thought it would be like a lot of other drinks who’s name connected it with nothing to do with Ireland, but I am glad to say that I was wrong. It also has an American traveler connection, which is fun for us.
Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s by head chef Joe Sheridan. His restaurant Foynes in County Limerick Foynes’ port was the precursor to the Shannon International Airport. One bitterly cold night a Pan Am flight landed from America and brought in some very cold travelers. To warm things up Sheridan added Irish whiskey to their coffees. Being pleased with their service and curious about this new drink they asked Sheridan if they were drinking Brazilian coffee, his only response, “Irish Coffee.”
The warm drink from the Emerald Isle came to America in 1952, through travel writer Stanton Delaplane. Delaplane wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle. After travelling to Shannon airport he decided to introduce the drink at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café.
Irish coffee is truly Irish and it is simple to make at home. All you need is coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar (some call for brown sugar) and topped with thick cream (some call for whipped cream). This is definitely something you can make at home and tailor it to your own liking. Give it a holiday touch by adding colored sprinkles and a candy cane once the snow starts to fly.
Want to try Irish whiskey where it was invented? Check out our past posts on Ireland