Despite its name, Irish coffee is actually a cocktail. It combines hot coffee, some brown sugar, Irish whiskey, and cream. And unlike other so-called Irish beverages, Irish coffee actually came from Ireland.
Joe Sheridan, a chef in Foynes, County Limerick, created the drink in 1943. A flight to New York from the local flying boat terminal turned back due to bad weather and Sheridan was asked to prepare hot food and drinks for the freezing passengers.
Sheridan put some Irish whiskey into their coffees. The passengers then asked if he used Brazilian coffee to which he said: “No it was Irish coffee.” He then continued to put the coffee in a glass and topped it with cream.
Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer, discovered the drink there and convinced Jack Koeppler, owner of the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, to bring it to the U.S. The rest, as they say, is history.
Take note, however, that there have been different versions of coffee cocktails predating the classic Irish coffee recipe for at least 100 years.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a cup: