Irish Coffee Culture

Irish Coffee Irish Coffee

There is, of course, a story behind many famed exports of Ireland – including the Irish Coffee. In the winter of 1943, during World War II, Joe Sheridan operated a popular restaurant and coffee shop at Foynes Port near Limerick (a civilian airbase). On a cold and windy night, a flight took off for New York but was forced by bad weather to return… and a message via Morse code was sent alerting the airport that a planeload of people would be returning, in need of food and drink.

When Joe Sheridan was asked to prepare something to warm up the tired passengers, he used a little inspiration – and put some fine Irish whiskey into their coffees. The story goes that an American passenger asked if it was “Brazilian coffee?”– to which Joe replied “No, that’s Irish Coffee”… Needless to say, “Irish Coffee” became a hit; after the war, it was introduced to the US by a travel writer who asked the bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco to recreate it, using the same technique to float the cream as innovated that winter night in Limerick. And as they say in Ireland, sláinte!



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  1. It was my uncle, Stanton Delaplane of the SF Chronicle who brought the idea of Irish Coffee to the Buena Vista in San Francisco,