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Irish coffee

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Title: Irish coffee  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Liqueur coffee, Rüdesheimer Kaffee, List of cocktails, Caffè corretto, Cappuccino
Collection: Alcoholic Coffee Beverages, Cocktails with Whisky, Irish Alcoholic Beverages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Irish coffee

Irish Coffee
IBA Official Cocktail
A glass of Irish coffee
Type Mixed drink
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Hot
Standard drinkware
Irish coffee mug
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Heat the coffee, whiskey and sugar; do not boil. Pour into glass and top with cream; serve hot.
* Irish Coffee recipe at International Bartenders Association

Irish coffee (Irish: caife Gaelach) is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar (some recipes specify that brown sugar should be used[1]), stirred, and topped with thick cream. The coffee is drunk through the cream. The original recipe explicitly uses cream that has not been whipped, although drinks made with whipped cream are often sold as "Irish coffee".


  • Origin 1
  • Earlier coffee and alcohol cocktails 2
  • Preparation 3
  • Variations 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Although different variations of coffee cocktails pre-date the now-classic Irish coffee by at least 100 years, the original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan, a head chef in Foynes, County Limerick but originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone. Foynes' port was the precursor to Shannon International Airport in the west of Ireland. The coffee was conceived after a group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying boat on a miserable winter evening in the 1940s. Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was "Irish coffee".[2][3]

  • The Irish Coffee Story, San Francisco, .  

External links

  1. ^ Irish coffee recipe, IBA , specifying brown sugar, and that fresh cream should be floated on top.
  2. ^ "Irish Coffee", European Cuisines .
  3. ^ Our Irish Coffee Heritage, Foynes Flying Boat Museum .
  4. ^ Nolte, Carl (November 22, 2006). "San Francisco: Coffee, cream, sugar and — Irish whiskey... but Buena Vista changed brands". San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate). Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  5. ^ Nolte, Carl (November 9, 2008). "The man who brought Irish coffee to America". San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate). 
  6. ^ King, John (November 9, 2008). "SF bar celebrates 56 years of Irish coffee". San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate). 
  7. ^ Garvey, John; Hanning, Karen (2008). Irish San Francisco. Arcadia.  
  8. ^ Nolte, Carl (November 16, 2002). "Java the Irish way: 50 years ago, a new drink was born in an SF cafe". San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate). 
  9. ^ Perry, Charles. "Tom Bergin's Tavern". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  10. ^ "Celebrate the invention of Irish", Donegal democrat ( .
  11. ^ "Joe Sheridan's Original Irish Coffee Recipe". Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  12. ^ "Traditional Irish Coffee Recipe". Good food Ireland. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  13. ^ Standards,  .
  14. ^ "Recipes", Gastronomia vasca .


  1. ^ The standard can be obtained from Standards IE.[13]


See also

Many drinks of hot coffee with a distilled spirit, and cream floated on top—liqueur coffees—are given names derived from Irish coffee, although the names are not standardised. Irish cream coffee (a.k.a., Bailey's coffee) can be considered a variant of Irish coffee but involves the use of Irish cream as a "pre-mixed" substitute for the whisky, cream and sugar. Jamaican coffee would be expected to be made with rum. Highland coffee, also called Gaelic coffee, with Scotch whisky, and so on.

Some bars in Southeast Asia serve a cocktail of iced coffee and whiskey, sometimes without cream, under the name "Irish coffee."

In Spain, Irish coffee (café irlandés) is sometimes served with a bottom layer of whiskey, a separate coffee layer, and a layer of cream on top;[14] special devices are sold for making it.

The cream used by some bars to make what is sold as "Irish coffee" is sometimes sprayed from a can. Some bartenders gently shake fresh cream to achieve a smooth layer atop the coffee.

Although whiskey, coffee and cream are the basic ingredients in all Irish coffee, variations in preparation exist. The choice of coffee and the methods used for brewing it differ significantly. The use of espresso machines or fully automatic coffee brewers is now typical: the coffee is either a caffè americano (espresso diluted with hot water) or some kind of filter coffee, often made using a coffee capsule.

In 1988, the National Standards Authority of Ireland published Irish Standard I.S. 417: Irish Coffee.[1]


Black coffee is poured into the mug. Whiskey and at least one level teaspoon of sugar is stirred in until fully dissolved. The sugar is essential for floating liquid cream on top.[11] Thick cream is carefully poured over the back of a spoon initially held just above the surface of the coffee and gradually raised a little.[12] The layer of cream will float on the coffee without mixing. The coffee is drunk through the layer of cream.

Preparing an Irish coffee


  • Un trait de son caractère était de payer généreusement quinze francs par mois pour le gloria qu'il prenait au dessert. (Balzac, Le Père Goriot, 1834, I.)
  • Il aimait le gros cidre, les gigots saignants, les glorias longuement battus. (Flaubert, Madame Bovary, 1857.)

In 19th-century France, a mixture of coffee and spirits was called a gloria.

From the mid 19th Century, the Pharisäer and the Fiaker were served in Viennese coffee houses, both coffee cocktails served in glass, topped with whipped cream. The former was also known in northern Germany and Denmark around this time. Around the turn of the 20th century the coffee cocktail menu in the Viennese cafés also included Kaisermelange, Maria Theresia, Biedermeier-Kaffee and a handful of other variations on the theme.

Earlier coffee and alcohol cocktails

Other sources claim that Joe Jackson perfected the recipe at Jacksons Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal.[10]

Tom Bergin's Tavern in Los Angeles,[9] also claims to have been the originator and has had a large sign in place reading "House of Irish Coffee" since the early 1950s.

[8] Delaplane popularized the drink by mentioning it frequently in his travel column, which was widely read throughout America. In later years, after the Buena Vista had served, by its count, more than 30 million of the drinks, Delaplane and the owners grew tired of the drink. A friend commented that the problem with Irish coffee is that it ruins three good drinks: coffee, cream, and whiskey.[7]

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