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Irish Coffee – The Recipe and Its History

Nothing is better than a cup of hot Irish Coffee after a cold winter day. But do you know the history of the nice drink? Senan told us a interesting story and a recipe of the famous drink.

Nothing is better than a cup of hot Irish Coffee after a cold winter day. But do you know the history of the nice drink? Senan told us a interesting story and a recipe of the famous drink.

Irish Coffee – The Recipe and Its History


Of the numerous Irish exports that have been welcomed throughout the world, none are more unique and heart warming than the traditional Irish coffee.The origins of Irish coffee owes itself, as many Irish drinks do, to the cold yet 'refreshing' Irish weather. In the 1930s and 1940s, Foynes – a port town in the south-west of Ireland, was a major transfer point between the United States and Europe for passenger flying boats that made an often bumpy and chilly eighteen hour journey across the vast Atlantic Ocean. On one occasion in 1942, realising that passengers were often cold and exhausted after the long flight and the short boat trip from the seaplane to the Foynes terminal restaurant, the caterers, managed by Brendan O'Regan, and the chef, Joe Sheridan, developed a drink with an Irish touch that was sure to warm their hearts and spirits. One story has it that one of the passengers asked, 'Is this Brazilian coffee?", to which Joe Sheridan replied, 'No, that's Irish coffee'. And so, Irish coffee was born, and its unique taste allowed its appeal to spread around the world, especially in the United States.

In 1952, Chef Joe Sheridan visited the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco and introduced the first Irish coffees to the United States. The Buena Vista Cafe is now world famous for its Irish Coffees and sells more Irish coffees every day than anywhere else in the world. As a tribute to Joe Sheridan , a plaque honouring his achievement can be seen outside the Joe Sheridan Cafe Bar in Shannon International Airport – now the new gateway to the south-west of Ireland. Every summer, the people of Foynes celebrate the Irish Coffee Festival with parades, a carnival, traditional Irish music and the World Irish Coffee Championship. In this friendly yet competitive contest; waiters, waitresses and bartenders from all four corners of the world vie for the title of World Irish Coffee Making Champion. For lovers of Irish Coffee wherever you may be, we hope that it puts a smile on your face and some warmth in your heart. Slainte – the Irish word for 'Cheers'.



  • Coffee
  • Brown sugar :
    2 teaspoons
  • Whipped cream
  • Irish whiskey :
    2 or 3 full big spoons

The following recipe is based largely on the recipe of my dear mother, Anna, who has often greeted international friends to our home in Ireland with an Irish coffee. Not surprisingly, they have always returned.

  1. Start by using a suitable glass, preferably a coffee glass that can contain hot liquids. Rinse the glass with boiling water so that it is warm and will not crack when you prepare the hot coffee.
  2. Put a full teaspoon of coffee into the glass. The amount of coffee that you decide to put in depends on the drinker and is case by case – if they like strong coffee or weak coffee. One teaspoon of coffee is usually fine.
  3. Put two full teaspoons of sugar into the glass. Brown sugar is best for colour and richness but white sugar is also ok.
  4. Put two or three full tablespoons of Irish whiskey (Jameson, Paddy, Powers Gold Label, Bushmills, etc.) into the glass. Two or three tablespoons of whiskey are usually fine.
  5. Fill 75% of the glass with boiling water. Remember to constantly stir as you pour the boiling water.
  6. Gently pour fresh whipped cream on top of the coffee. Use a spoon to float the cream on top of the coffee. The fresher the cream, the better. Do not stir the cream into the coffee. The unique taste of Irish coffee is best sampled by sipping warm Irish whiskey, and coffee through a soothing cool layer of freshly whipped cream.
  7. Allow a minute or two for the glass to cool down. Then neatly place a paper napkin around the glass so that the drinker can comfortably enjoy an Irish coffee without burning his or her hands.
  8. Enjoy and delight in the taste of your own Irish coffee.

By Senan Fox.
[Feb. 2005]

The Buena Vista Cafe:
Shannon International Airport:

INJ Link INJ-サンフランシスコで飲むアイリッシュコーヒー