Happy St. Patrick's Day, one and all. We have some fabulous news for you: In a completely shocking turn of events, it happens that the Irish coffee we all so lovingly gulp down on this glorious holiday (and every other Sunday) actually has Irish origins! No, that means it is NOT an American concoction made up by someone who got a little too thirsty one morning while Dropkick Murphys happened to be playing on the radio.
In fact, Irish coffee was created way back in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, chef at Foynes Port near Limerick, Ireland. Foynes was an airbase for transatlantic flights and commonly used as a stopover for longer flights to refuel. Or, in more severe cases, passengers would end up staying for a night or two near the base if weather didn't permit them to fly back out.
On one such night, a flight had left from Foynes and was forced to return to the base halfway through its journey. Obviously feeling sorry for the stranded guests, Chef Sheridan decided to whip up a special drink for them all to enjoy. Supposedly, a silence descended upon the group as everyone delighted in what he'd made.
"Hey, buddy," legend has it a surprised American passenger asked, "is this Brazilian coffee?" "No," said Sheridan, "that's Irish coffee."
And so, the Irish coffee was born.
The coffee gained notoriety, and soon it was an airport specialty. Travel writer Stanton Delaplane eventually brought it to the States, where he introduced it to Jack Koeppler, a bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco. When Koeppler tried to make it, though, his cream kept sinking -- so he actually traveled to Ireland to learn from the master himself, Joe Sheridan.
Today, the Buena Vista is still known as the original home of Irish coffee in the States and serves up to 2,000 of them a day. But if you want a real Irish coffee, you of course have to go to Ireland.