A classic Irish coffee (Irish: Caife Gaelach) consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, with double cream whipped until it begins to stiffen, floated on top. The original Irish coffee, or so the lore would have it, was invented at Foynes by Mr. Joseph Sheridan, the head chef there. (Foynes was the precursor to Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland). The coffee was conceived as a warmer for trans-Atlantic travelers in the 1940s. Stanton Delaplane, travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle claimed to have brought Irish coffee to the U.S. when he convinced the Buena Vista bar in San Francisco to start serving Irish coffee on November 10, 1952. Since then, the Buena Vista has become famous for its Irish coffee.
- Black coffee should be prepared in the usual manner;
- Whiskey and minimum of a level teaspoon of sugar (or more to taste) should be added and stirred into the coffee until fully dissolved. The purpose of the sugar is to keep the cream floating, and from melting into the mix;
- The cream should be dropped on top of the coffee forming a ‘head’, and thereby giving an overall appearance similar to that of a properly poured Guinness. It helps to pour the cream slowly over a spoon that has been heated in a mug of boiling water.