Like many great ideas, true Irish coffee is a simple one.
It doesn’t have firm, snowy peaks of whipped cream on top. It doesn’t sport curls of chocolate or sprinkles of cocoa. It is not shaken. It is simply stirred. Yet this straightforward warming cocktail has had staying power for generations.
Joe Sheridan, a bartender at Foynes airport in County Limerick, Ireland (near the present-day Shannon airport) is credited with creating the cocktail in 1942, according to Simon Difford in his “Encyclopedia of Cocktails.” Then an American is credited with spreading the word. In 1947, when the majority of transatlantic flights used to stop and refuel in Ireland, Stanton “Stan” Delaplane, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, found himself at Sheridan’s bar. Delaplane tried Sheridan’s Irish Coffee and was impressed that when he returned home, he passed the recipe onto the bartender at his local bar, the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco. The recipe spread and the drink became a classic.
Like most great ideas, this one is very simple – coffee with a whiskey kick. If you want to shake it up with a coffee liqueur and serve in a martini glass or garnish with chocolate curls or cocoa sprinkles, that might be a tasty drink – it just won’t be an original Irish coffee.
- Mary Subialka for DRINKS Magazine
Recipe: Irish Coffee
1-ounce Irish Whiskey
hot brewed coffee
lightly whipped double cream
sugar syrup to taste (optional)
Mix whiskey, coffee, and sugar syrup in a heatproof glass making sure the coffee is piping hot. Float the lightly whipped cream by gently pouring over a flat-bottomed bar spoon or teaspoon.
Find this, and other recipes in the Spring DRINKS Magazine, available now at Surdyk’s.