Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Irish Coffee

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What are the origins of Irish coffee, now iconic of the Anglophone culture? One of the popular beliefs was that aviators added cream to their coffees to be able to drink it warm and thus quickly, whereas the whiskey was supposed to give them courage. Nevertheless, after research, the following story was made official.

A young Irish chef named Joseph Sheridan worked in the restaurant at Foyne’s airbase (later Shannon airport) in Ireland in the forties. In order to warm up passengers coming back from a particularly unpleasant flight, he simply added whiskey to coffee. The American passengers were surprised by this cocktail and first thought they were being served Brazilian coffee, but Sheridan called it Irish coffee.


The travel writer Stanton Delaplane then brought this drink to the United States in 1952 after having tasted it at Shannon airport. Together with Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg, two bar owners from San Francisco, he worked to re-create this drink. The cocktail was popularized by Delaplane who frequently wrote about it in his travel columns.


This beverage consists of Irish whiskey, black and hot coffee, heavy cream and brown sugar (for more details about the recipe, please have a look at the video below). People have always struggled to obtain the famous floating cream on the top of the beverage. Another and easier variant among many others would thus be to use whipped cream instead of heavy cream. The look is crucial, indeed “A perfect Irish Coffee should look pretty much like that other famous Irish drink – Guinness”







Stéphanie de Wilde and Marie Defraigne

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