The History of Irish Coffee

Fri, Dec 02, 22  |  spirits

History of Irish CoffeeIrish coffee, as you probably already know, is a cocktail consisting of coffee, brown sugar, heavy cream, and of course, Irish whiskey.

It has been warming the hearts and spirits of people ever since its creation back in the early 1900s. But you may be wondering where exactly did this “Irish coffee” come from, and how? More importantly, who was the creator of this tantalizing treat that warms your body and soul?

The History of Irish Coffee: Mystery Man

Well, it turns out that its creation was no accident, regarding the background of this mix master. As head chef at Foynes, Country Limerick in Ireland, Joe Sheridan concocted this Irish coffee out of haste to comfort American passengers who were traveling on the Pan Am flying boat on a very cold and callous night. For those of you who do not know about this mysterious “flying boat”, it is basically a Boeing 314, which doesn’t use a traditional landing strip, but rather lands on open waters, hence the term “flying boat”. Now here’s where the story becomes historic. After the Americans started consuming the Irish coffee, one individual asked if it was Brazilian coffee, while Joe responded quickly with the famous quote that it was, indeed “Irish coffee”.

The History of Irish Coffee: How it Spread

Even though there was probably strong word-of-mouth marketing from the passengers on the flying boat about this new “Irish” coffee, it needed a big push to be able come overseas and be seen as a predominately Irish coffee beverage that would gain a lot of publicity in a positive light. A man by the name of Stanton Delaplane, a journalist that traveled for the San Francisco Chronicle, brought Irish coffee to the states after trying it at Shannon Airport in Ireland. He started working with Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, who started serving it on November 10, 1952. After gaining an affluent backing, he decided to take to the streets and work hands-on with bar owners, Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg, to perfect the recipe and to determine which cream should work best when topped over the hot Irish coffee.

The History of Irish Coffee: The Cream!

Some say that Stanton Delaplane stayed up all night trying different methods to replicate the Irish method of floating the cream above the Irish coffee until he eventually passed out! Then things got even more interesting when they asked for the mayor’s assistance. It was ironically relevant to ask him because of his stature as a dairy owner, and led them to the idea that the cream should be aged for at leased 48 hours before topping over the Irish coffee so that it would stay afloat. Even though they had extensively perfected this form of Irish coffee, there was no real marketing for this drink, and therefore no widespread national recognition.

The History of Irish Coffee: Making it Famous

Delaplane planned on using his resources to his favor when he started making it a must to add it to his popular travel column. The buzz about this spread while the Buena Vista gained well-respected recognition as well. Over the years the Buena Vista served over 30 million Irish coffee drinks to individuals from all over the nation and still is serving these wonderfully crafted, one of a kind, Irish coffees to this day. If you ever get the chance to experience the true history of Irish coffee, take the opportunity because it would be plain crazy to pass it up!

If you are a fan of Irish coffees, Julio’s Liquors has you covered when it comes to purchasing the finest ingredients. Visit us on Route 9 in Westborough, MA today!

Are you as excited as we are that the history of Irish coffee eventually led to its popularity around the world?