Though it might not be as beloved as a pint of Guinness or as inviting as a shot of Jameson’s Irish whiskey after some cold hours spent marching in or viewing a parade, Irish coffee has a place all its own on St. Patrick’s Day.
The origins of Irish coffee are sometimes debated, though many historians trace the beverage to a stormy night in Ireland. One fateful night in 1943, Irishman Joe Sheridan was called back to work at the restaurant and coffee shop at the Foynes Airbase Flying Boat terminal in County Limerick. A flight that had recently departed for Newfoundland was forced to return to the airport that night due to inclement weather. According to the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, Sheridan was asked to make something for the passengers to help them stay warm. Before serving some freshly made coffee, Sheridan decided to add a little Irish whiskey, and the rest is history.
The popularity of Irish coffee is undeniable, and some of that popularity likely stems from how easy it can be to make the drink at home. Though Irish coffee is a straightforward beverage, the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum offer the following tips for those who want to whip up a batch that would make Sheridan proud.
1. Preheat an Irish coffee glass by filling it with boiling water. Keep the water in the glass for 5 seconds, and then pour the water out.
2. Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a good measure of Irish whiskey into the warmed glass.*
3. Fill the glass to within 1 centimeter (a little less than half an inch) of the brim of the glass with hot and strong black coffee. Stir well so all of the brown sugar dissolves.
4. Carefully pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon. The goal is to ensure the cream floats on top of the coffee.
5. Do not stir after adding the cream. It’s important to avoid stirring because the Irish coffee will be most flavorful if you drink the coffee and whiskey through the cream.
A pint of Guinness might be a must for millions of St. Patrick’s Day celebrants across the globe. But those who want something a little warmer can try their hands at Irish coffee as they toast the patron saint of Ireland this March.
*Must be 21 and over.