Holiday Coffee for St. Patrick’s Day

Holiday Coffee for St. Patrick’s Day

Irish coffee and other delectable treats are a fun way to celebrate the day, so here are a handful of Emerald Isle ideas and recipes for St. Patrick's Day!

The Original Irish Coffee
First a bit of history—Irish coffee was formally invented by chef Joe Sheridan at the Brendan O’Regan Restaurant at Ireland’s Foynes Airport in 1943. The story goes that a flight bound for Newfoundland, having departed the Foynes Terminal some time earlier, encountered sufficiently dangerous weather that the pilot decided to return to Foynes. The group of American passengers, cold and miserable from their winter evening trip in a flying boat (a kind of seaplane), disembarked and were brought to the restaurant for food and drink. Sheridan added Irish whiskey to the coffees he prepared in an effort to warm the passengers. When asked by one of them if he was drinking Brazilian coffee, Sheridan replied that it was “Irish coffee.” The name stuck—and the legend grew.

Here is the original Irish coffee recipe from Foynes Airport (now the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum):

Foynes Irish Coffee

  • Boiling water
  • 1 C freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • Irish whiskey
  • Heavy cream, slightly whipped


  1. Place a teaspoon in the glass and fill with boiling water for five seconds.
  2. In this pre-warmed glass, put one teaspoon of brown sugar and a good measure of Irish Whiskey [most recipes call for a “jigger,” which is 1 1/2 ounces or 3 tablespoons]
  3. Fill the glass to within 1cm of the brim with very hot, strong black coffee. Stir well to melt all the sugar.
  4. Carefully pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the coffee.
  5. Do not stir after adding the cream, as the true flavor is obtained by drinking the hot coffee and Irish Whiskey through the cream.

Irish Coffee—Enhanced
As you might expect, there are a dozen easy ways to tweak and enhance your Irish Coffee experience: a bit of peppermint extract; adding Irish whiskey or caramel to the whipped cream; mixing a bit of eggnog into the finished product; accenting your drink with a green straw or other accompanying garnish (or even green food coloring!); and of course turning temperature on its head and concocting an iced Irish Coffee drink.

Here are two worthy variations to try:

The Chilly Irishman (adapted from Creative Culinary)

  • 2 cups ice
  • 4 oz cold espresso coffee
  • 2 oz Kahlua
  • 1.5 oz Irish whiskey
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • Cocoa nibs or shaved chocolate for garnish

Add all ingredients to a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into chilled rocks glasses and garnish with cocoa nibs or shaved chocolate.

Baileys Irish Affogato (adapted from Bake Love Give)

  • 2 scoops ice cream or gelato (can be vanilla, espresso chip or other complimentary flavor)
  • 1 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 2 oz hot espresso

Scoop ice cream into an Irish coffee mug. Pour Baileys Irish Cream and hot espresso over ice cream. Serve immediately.

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