The original Irish coffee is made with black coffee, whiskey, sugar and cream. This was first invented in the small town of Foynes in County Limerick in 1942. Foynes was an airbase which handled many American passengers. Weather conditions along the West coast of Ireland were notoriously bad during the crossing from the West over to America which meant stop overs for refueling very often turned into over night stays.
In 1942 on a winter night, a plane that set off for New York had to turn back to Foynes due to the harsh weather conditions. The restaurant in the airport was told to prepare food and drinks for the cold and tired passengers. Joe Sheridan, a young Irish chef running the restaurant at the time decided to prepare something special to warm up the passengers. He made rich black coffee, added some Irish whiskey, a little brown sugar and floated freshly whipped cream on top of each cup. As the passengers enjoyed the coffees, one man asked was it a bazillion coffee? To which Sheridan replied it’s an Irish coffee.
The coffee was such a success that Joe made it a regular part of the menu in Foynes. By 1945, Foynes airbase was coming to an end with the opening of Shannon International Airport opening on the other side of the Shannon Estuary. Joe Sheridan moved his restaurant to the new airport and took his famous drink with him.
Irish Coffee may never have become an international success, had the travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, not brought the recipe back to Jack Koeppler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco who started serving it on November 10, 1952. Since then the drink has become synonymous with Ireland, surprising people that it only originated in the 1940’s.
Bailey’s Irish Coffee Recipe has become equally as famous and very often more preferred than the traditional whiskey Irish coffee. Made in a similar fashion, but with Baileys instead of Irish Whiskey. This coffee is also a fulfilling drink on a winters night.
Take a look at the team at The Irish Store preparing the classic Irish coffee with whiskey and the more modern Bailey’s Coffee.
This article originally appeared on TheIrishStore.com.