Irish Coffee

The Original Irish Coffee Recipe and Its History – Rory Morahan, The Druid Chef

I have often heard the expression that, on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish.  It is easy to share in the luck of the Irish, by enjoying a classic Irish Coffee.

When should you drink Irish Coffee? We say drink it whenever you feel the need for something that will warm you to your toes.  Is Irish Coffee made with whiskey good for your health?  Well, my grandfather, Peter would drink an Irish Coffee every Friday night after dinner, and he lived to be ninety-seven.

The Irish Coffee was created in the winter of 1943 by Joe Sheridan, chef at Foynes Port near Limerick, Ireland. Foynes was an airbase for transatlantic flights at the time that often carried political or Hollywood figures. The airbase was usually just a stop over for longer flights to refuel and often due to weather passengers would need to stay for the night and new restaurant was created to cater to these dignified passengers.

One evening, a flight had to turn back to Foynes Air base mid-way through its journey. Chef Joe Sheridan, feeling empathy for the delayed, cold and weary passengers decided to whip up something special for them to drink. The story goes that a silence descended as everyone enjoyed this delectable concoction.

American love coffee, the whiskey warmed their hearts and the quality Irish double cream gave the coffee the quality as the cream always raises to the top

According to legend, the name came about with the following exchange:

“Hey Buddy,” said a surprised American passenger, “is this Brazilian coffee?” “No,” said Joe, “that’s Irish Coffee.”

Irish Coffee became a huge success and an airport specialty. In 1952, after the war, Irish Coffee was introduced to the United States, by travel writer, Stanton Delaplaine. He brought it to the attention of Jack Kepler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco and persuaded him to recreate it.

The cream kept sinking when Koeppler tried to make the drink, so he traveled to the source, Chef Joe Sheridan in Limerick, Ireland to learn the correct way to make this delicious coffee.

This is the recipe offered by Joe Sheridan, to make a true Irish Coffee:

Cream – Rich as an Irish Brogue
Coffee – Strong as a Friendly Hand
Sugar – Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue
Whiskey – Smooth as the Wit of the Land  


2 tbsp Double Cream

150ml Freshly Brewed Black Coffee

50ml Irish Whiskey

2 tsp Brown Demerara Sugar

Pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg


Note: It is so important to have everything set up and ready to hand to execute the quality Irish coffee

  1. Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside and keep chilled.
  2. Warm the Irish coffee glass with hot water.
  3. Pour the sugar and then the coffee into the warmed glass.
  4. Add the Irish whiskey and stir again.
  5. Stir until the sugar dissolved.
  6. Float the cream on top by pouring it over the back of a spoon. Do not stir again. Instead, drink the coffee through the cream.



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