Traditional Irish Coffee

Traditional Irish Coffee | Sarah J. Hauser

Legend tells us Irish coffee was originally served by Joseph Sheridan in 1942 when a group of American travelers ended up at his restaurant in Foynes. It was a miserable winter night, and hot coffee with a bit of sugar, a jigger of whiskey and rich cream proved to be the perfect pick-me-up for the cold and weary guests. One of the travelers, curious to know more about the beverage, asked Joe if it was Brazilian coffee. He responded, “No, it’s Irish coffee.” And so the tradition began.

According to Sheridan, the original recipe is this:

“Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.”

Simple, but perfectly satisfying on a cold winter night, a rainy spring evening...or pretty much any other time of year. 

Traditional Irish Coffee | Sarah J. Hauser
Traditional Irish Coffee | Sarah J. Hauser

Irish Coffee
Yields 1 drink

2 teaspoons brown sugar
6 ounces freshly brewed coffee
1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey
Heavy cream, lightly whipped

Preheat an Irish coffee mug by rinsing it with very hot water. Add brown sugar and coffee. Stir. Add the whiskey.

Slowly pour in the cream so that it sits on top of the coffee* (the idea is to drink the coffee through the cream). 

*Quick Tip: Pour the cream over the back of a spoon held just above the surface of the coffee. This will help you achieve a slow, gradual pour and ensure the cream doesn't mix into the drink.