March 17, 2008


Ive had Irish Coffee at the famous Buena Vista Pub in San Francisco many times. Its delish, and after a long walk on a cold foggy SF nite its the perfect nite cap, or two or three......hehehe. I found this online about the Irish saying that we claimed to have invented this but they are wrong. The Buena Vista does not take claim to creating it, they wanted to recreate the one from the Shannon Airport in Ireland. Hey you Irish, if your gonna tell the world some Blarney at least do-nt lie! So here's their version and ours, from right here in good old San Francisco.


The Irish Pubs in San Francisco have claimed that it was they that invented Irish Coffee. After much research their claim has been refuted. Verification of the facts was contributed by none other than Michael Collins, the 28 year veteran bar tender at Shannon Airport. This report is authenticated by his signature to the left of the glass pictured here.
From 1939 to 1945 air travel from America was by flying boats that landed at Foynes, Co. Limerick after a long 18 hour flight. The passengers, chilled by the boat trip from the seaplane to the terminal, sometimes in cold, damp weather conditions, appreciated a hot cup of coffee or tea on arrival at the terminal. Brendan O'Regan, then the youthful manager of the Foynes catering service believed that passengers would welcome something stronger. Mr. Joseph Sheridan, the head Chef at Foynes, rose to the occasion, developing after some research what is now known as Irish Coffee.
A plaque marking the achievement has been erected at Shannon Airport and Irish Coffee is increasingly enjoyed throughout the world.

Original Shannon Recipe
  • Heat a stemmed whiskey goblet.

  • Pour in one shot of Irish whiskey.

  • Add three sugar cubes.

  • Fill with strong black coffee to within one inch of top. Stir gently.

  • Top off to the brim with heavy cream slightly aerated.

Important: Do not stir after adding cream, as the true flavor is obtained by drinking the coffee and whiskey through the cream.

Note: American whipping cream has an additive to increase shelf life. This detracts from ability to stay on top of mixture. Irish cream is delivered daily and has no additive. If you can obtain untreated cream from a farmer you will produce a better Irish Coffee.

Slainte !!!


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. Intrigued, Stan Accepted Jack’s invitation, and the pair began to experiment immediately.

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.

Success was theirs! With the recipe now mastered, a sparkling clear, six-ounce, heat-treated goblet was chosen as a suitable chalice.

Soon the fame of the Buena Vista’s Irish Coffee spread throughout the land. Today, it’s still the same delicious mixture, and it’s still the same clamorous, cosmopolitan Buena Vista. Both…delightful experiences.

BTW if your ever in SF, this is THE place to not miss on your trip. Its full of people from all over the world. There's usually a wait for the coffee but they put on a show doing it so its fun. The place is small and the tables are full and the bar is usually two deep. But you meet some awesome folks there. Its fun sharing a table with people from everywhere! With a few Irish coffees in them folks relax and you hear some great stories. And once you go back out there on a cold SF nite.......well it sure doesn't feel so cold anymore

Also my own version on this is to substitute brown sugar for the sugar cubes, seems to be richer to me. We love it this way!

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