Grab your favorite Galway Girl, a bottle of Tullamore D.E.W., and your favorite brew - Irish Coffee Day is this Saturday the 25th! Like many a legend, the recipe for what would become famously known as the Irish coffee came to fruition with none other than curiosity, passion, and a fortunate run of trial and error that led to the delicacy that has been enjoyed for decades around the globe. A bold and cozy concoction comprised of Irish whiskey, sugar, coffee, and cream, the Irish coffee is practically perfect for any type of weather, any time of the day, any day of the week. But how exactly did this precious creation come to be, you may ask?
The story goes as follows: In November of 1952, a gentleman by the name of Jack Koeppler, the owner of what was once just a quaint cafe in the San Francisco bay, was introduced to the original Irish coffee by his friend Stanton Delaplane, who at the time was a highly esteemed international travel writer. Stanton had traveled through Ireland and had his first taste of an Irish coffee at Shannon Airport in County Clare where he fell madly in love with the cocktail. He couldn’t get his mind off of the warming and delectable treat and immediately shared his findings with his buddy Jack. Both were fascinated and inspired, and the two sought out to pull together the perfect Irish coffee recipe. As the men went straight to the drawing board, they soon ran into a few issues. For one, the flavor was off mostly due to the desired sweetness of the drink and how different types of Irish whiskey affected this. It is also worthy of mention that the Irish used brown sugar in their mixture which was just a dash too sweet for the likes of the average American palate. The other issue, perhaps even more crucial, was that they couldn’t find a proper way to make the cream float.
No matter the troubles they faced, Jack persisted with a trip back to Ireland for yet another taste at Shannon Airport. Upon his return to the states, the pieces started to fall together with the selection of the perfect Irish whiskey, Tullamore D.E.W. The problem of the cream, however, was so troublesome that it was finally taken to an expert: San Francisco’s mayor at the time who happened to be a prominent dairy owner. With the final addition of a perfected whipping cream poured over the top of a spoon as the final step, the most exquisite Irish coffee recipe was finally in the hands of these inquisitive drinkers and has since become a tradition served to generation after generation for almost 70 years.
Over the decades, the Buena Vista Irish Coffee has become a well-known phenomenon. Every day, rows of twenty, sometimes almost thirty glasses (the bar top can hold up to 28) are lined up across the bar top and precisely built from the bottom up. Today the drinkable legend that is the Buena Vista Irish Coffee still flourishes, and thanks to the same careful consideration of ingredients, close attention to detail, and masterful precision in mind that brought it to life in the first place, these babies are as valuable as gold even in the most high volume environment. Veteran bartender of the Buena Vista, Paul Nolan, suggests a medium roast coffee for a proper Irish as well as (you guessed it) Tullamore D.E.W. as the star component. He suggests that the trick to speedily assembling his Irish coffees without compromising their balance or consistency is blending the first three ingredients together properly before spooning in the cream, using the proper amount of sugar, and the right size glass — a six ounce glass to be exact.
“The biggest mistake people make is the wrong size glass”, says Paul. “It just doesn’t work with anything more or less. You start with a great recipe, you’ve got a great whiskey, you’ve got very fresh ingredients, and you prepare the drink correctly."
There you have it, folks! You couldn’t be in better hands as far as proper suggestions for your proper Irish coffee, so we now offer you the reins. You know what to do this weekend: Get up, get out, and whether you make your own or have one made by a professional, get your Irish coffee on.
Happy National Irish Coffee Day!