The Irish Coffee Story

When creating recipes, experimentation mixed with lots of practice helps make the perfect concoction. That’s exactly how Irish Coffee became such a delicious, even decadent, drink. What seems like a simple mixture – coffee, whiskey and cream – is actually difficult to perfect. As was the case when Irish Coffee came to America and was first created at San Francisco’s famed Buena Vista café.

According to Buena Vista legend: “The historic venture started on the night of November the 10th in 1952. Jack Koeppler, then-owner of the Buena Vista, challenged international travel writer Stanton Delaplane to help re-create a highly touted “Irish Coffee” served at Shannon Airport in Ireland.

Throughout the night the two of them stirred and sipped judiciously and eventually acknowledged two recurring problems. The taste was ‘not quite right,’ and the cream would not float. Stan’s hopes sank like the cream, but Jack was undaunted. The restaurateur pursued the elusive elixir with religious fervor, even making a pilgrimage overseas to Shannon Airport.

Upon Jack’s return, the experimentation continued. Finally, the perfect-tasting Irish whiskey was selected. Then the problem of the bottom-bent cream was taken to San Francisco’s mayor, a prominent dairy owner. It was discovered that when the cream was aged for 48 hours and frothed to a precise consistency, it would float as delicately as a swan on the surface of Jack’s and Stan’s special nectar.”

With the recipe finally perfected, the popularity of Irish Coffee eventually spread throughout the country.

Here’s how you can create your own perfect Irish Coffee – or if you prefer, come visit us at Epic Restaurant, and our bartender will make one for you.

Irish Coffee Recipe:

  1. Preheat a stemmed glass by filling with hot water, then emptying.
  2. Pour hot coffee in your glass to ¾ full.
  3. Drop in 2 cocktail sugar cubes.
  4. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Add a shot of Irish whiskey.
  6. Top with a collar of lightly whipped whipping cream, by pouring gently over the back of a spoon.
  7. Sip while hot, without stirring.

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