Friday's Featured Cocktail: Irish Coffee


On a cold and miserable night in 1942, an Irish chef named Joe Sheridan added whiskey, brown sugar and whipped cream to coffee to warm up a group of American travelers who had arrived at Foynes in a Pan Am Flying Boat. According to legend, one of the Americans asked Joe if it was Brazilian coffee.  “No,” replied Joe.  “That’s Irish coffee.” 

On that stormy evening during World War II, Caifé Gaelach was born.  Joe continued serving it to airboat passengers and, when Shannon International Airport opened, he moved his operation there.

Irish coffee may have never left Ireland had it not been for San Francisco Chronicle writer Stanton Delaplane.  Stanton loved the intoxicating brew and in 1952 shared the recipe with a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel.  Irish coffee crossed the Atlantic and the rest is history.


Irish coffee is served hot and the International Bartenders Association's official recipe calls for:

  • 40ml (2 parts) Irish whiskey
  • 80ml (4 parts) hot coffee
  • 30ml (1½ parts) fresh cream
  • 1tsp brown sugar

To prepare the beverage, heat the coffee, whiskey and sugar, but do not boil the mix.  Pour it into a traditional Irish coffee mug and top with the cream.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!