As the Irish would say, sure hasn’t it gone fierce cold out? With the cold snap upon us, it’s the perfect time to step out of the wind and enjoy a hot drink like a hot whiskey or a real Irish Coffee. On a winter’s evening, there’s nothing better.

Fadó fadó… (Once upon a time)

Now, you will of course have heard of the Irish Coffee, and you know that it’s made with Irish whiskey and love. But, have you ever wondered how it originated? Pull up a chair, put those shopping bags down, take a sip of that warm Irish Coffee and let us take you back to a cold and stormy night in the West of Ireland. It was the winter of 1943. Shannon airport was an airbase for transatlantic flights, often used as a place to stop for longer flights and refuel. Political and Hollywood figures came through the airbase, and a new restaurant called Foynes was set up to cater to these VIPs.

Now, that part of the world is known for its wild and often unpredictable weather, and on that stormy night, a flight had to turn back midway through its journey. Chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes whipped up a special drink for the cold and weary passengers and a drinks icon was born.

“Hey, is this a Brazilian coffee?” an American passenger enquired.

“Why no, sir,” replied Joe, “’tis an Irish Coffee.”

After the war ended, the drink was introduced to the US by a travel writer, who convinced bartender Koeppler at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco to recreate it. However, the drink was not as easy to make as it looked, and the cream kept sinking to the bottom. Undeterred, Koeppler traveled to Ireland to allow Joe Sheridan to teach him the method. 

Warming you to your toes

Would you like to know the secret of the perfect Irish Coffee? Joe Sheridan maintained that you need:

  • Cream – rich as an Irish brogue (1 ounce of lightly whipped double cream)
  • Coffee – strong as a friendly hand (4 ounces of hot coffee)
  • Sugar – sweet as the tongue of a rogue (2 teaspoons of brown sugar)
  • Whiskey – smooth as the wit of the land (1 ½ ounce of Irish whiskey)

But not so fast! The real secret is in the method.

  1. Preheat the glass with hot water.
  2. Add the brown sugar, then the coffee, and stir.
  3. Add the Irish Whiskey and stir again. Wait for the mixture to still. As the Irish say: hold your whisht.
  4. Take a hot teaspoon and pour the cream over the back of the spoon.

An Irish welcome awaits you

Mary Margaret’s Olde Irish Tavern looks forward to extending a warm Irish welcome to you: tá fáilte romhat. Why not join us and share the luck of the Irish by enjoying one of our much-loved Foynes Irish Coffees? It’ll do you good! We use Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, Kahwa coffee, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Sure, it’s only delicious. This classic drink is sure to pair well with our Irish-inspired brunch, served every Saturday and Sunday between 10 AM and 2 PM.  Sláinte!