The History of the Irish Coffee
As most of us when celebrating the Irish holiday of St. Patrick’s Day may imbibe in a wee one or two of an Irish Coffee. I really enjoy Irish coffee, served mostly this time of year; I like it to warm up and as a grand finish to a great meal.
My favorite is Jameson, coffee, whipped cream and topped with Crème DeMenthe (the green stuff). Some people like Bushmills Irish Whiskey, some like Tullamore Dew or Powers Irish whiskey; it depends on your taste.
The choice of whiskey also had a great deal to do with what part of Ireland your ancestors are from. If you were from Northern Ireland which back in the day was predominately Protestant faith, they drank Bushmills. If your ancestors were from southern Ireland, predominately Catholic faith, they drank Jameson’s, which by the way was founded in the 1700’s by a Scottish gentleman by the name of John Jameson. Both companies are now owned and operated by French and English companies.
The Irish Coffee as we know it now, according to historians, was invented by bartender Joe Sheridan who worked in Ireland in the county Limerick at the Flying Boat Terminal at Foynes. He created the hot drink as an answer to the Italian Espresso and Cappuccino.
Sheridan moved to San Francisco in 1951 and brought his recipe to the new bar he was working at, The Buena Vista, down on the wharf in San Francisco. I’ve been to The Buena Vista a few times and I have to tell you, they make them quick and they’re very enjoyable. They’re served in a small glass so be careful, they go down pretty quick and often.
So the next time you order an Irish Coffee, take the time to raise your glass to Joe Sheridan and thank him for bringing his Irish drink to us. Sláinte!
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