National Irish Coffee Day kicks off January 25th each year with a mug of strong coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and topped with a layer of cream.
On a cold, wet day in 1942 weary travelers to the small Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland found their way to a restaurant and chef Joe Sheridan. To warm his guests, he served them hot coffee, spiked with whiskey and topped with whipped cream. The passengers asked if the beverage was Brazilian coffee. Sheridan responded that it was Irish coffee.
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A travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, brought Irish coffee to the United States after having it at Shannon Airport.
Delaplane brought the idea to the Buena Vista Cafe on November 10, 1952. After much trial and error, sampling, and a trip back to Ireland for a taste of the original, Delaplane, along with Buena Vista owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg, were able to replicate the delicious coffee and the method for floating the cream on top of the coffee.
How to Make an Authentic Irish Coffee
Starting with a warm glass, fill 2/3rds full of freshly brewed coffee. Stir in a heaping teaspoon of sugar. Add 1 ounce of Irish whiskey.
Adding the cream, so it floats is the tricky part. According to the Buena Vista account, and at the suggestion of San Francisco’s mayor, a dairyman, cream that is 48 hours old, is best. However, others recommend whipping cream (not whipped cream) that has been lightly whipped or foamed.
When the coffee has stopped swirling from stirring in the sugar, pour the foamy cream over the back of a spoon.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL IRISH COFFEE DAY
Warm up with an Irish coffee. Use #NationalIrishCoffeeDay to post on social media.
If you want to explore more cocktails and their history, read A-Z Cocktail Origins.
NATIONAL IRISH COFFEE DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this hot beverage celebration. While we do, we hope you’ll enjoy a mug with a friend or two.