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TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Coffee

Even if you don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parade-watching and partying, take the occasion to enjoy an Irish Coffee—a simply wonderful cup of coffee enhanced with Irish whiskey and whipped cream.

It will be especially welcome in our neck of the woods: Mother Nature is giving us a wind chill factor in the teens, and possible snow.

You might think that Irish Coffee is a centuries-old drink, enjoyed by generations of Irish folk around a hot fire at home or at the pub.

But truth be told, it originated in the era around World War II during the dawn of transatlantic plane travel, when air travelers from America to Ireland took an 18-hour seaplane to Port of Foynes in County Limerick.

In cold, damp weather, a hot cup of coffee or tea was offered upon arrival. When “something stronger” was requested, Irish Coffee was born.

The name purportedly was bestowed when an American asked if the beverage was made with Brazilian coffee. He was told in return, “This is Irish coffee.”

 

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Irish Coffee. Any glass will do. Photo courtesy Rogers & Cowan.

 
One passenger enjoying a cup was the owner of the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco. He brought the recipe home in 1952 and began serving the first Irish Coffee in the U.S.

Here’s the full story.

So get out the bottle of Bushmills, Jameson or Tullamore Dew. You don’t need a special glass handled pedestal mug that evolved to serve Irish coffee; any glass will do.

Here’s the original Irish Coffee recipe plus variations. And if you don’t like coffee, there’s a recipe for Irish Hot Chocolate.

Sláinte!*
 
*Pronounced SLAWN-cha, SLON-che or SLON-tih depending on the area of Ireland, it means “health!” in Gaelic.
  




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