The Irish Coffee cocktail dates from the Second World War, although many stories are told about its origin.
The most common and likely story is that from the early 1940s Irish Coffee was served to American passengers landing at Foynes Airport in Ireland after long hours of travel. Joseph Sheridan (1909-1962), chef of an airport restaurant, noticing that the passengers were exhausted and chilled by the trip, concocted a mixture to warm them up and cheer them up. For this, Sheridan notably mixed hot coffee with a little good Irish whiskey. The passengers appreciated the flavor of the coffee, one day one of the passengers would have asked Joe Sheridan if it was Brazilian coffee, the chef would have answered "no, it is an Irish coffee (Irish Coffee)".
In 1945 this airport of Foynes dedicated to seaplanes closes, a new airport is inaugurated next door in the town of Shannon to be able to accommodate "land" planes. It was in this new airport that Sheridan went to work until 1952, taking with him his invention: Irish Coffee. A commemorative plaque honors Sheridan and his creation at this Shannon airport.
On November 10, 1952, at the Buena Vista cafe in San Francisco, manager Jack Koppler and journalist Stanton Delaplane of the San Francisco Chronicle who had passed through Shannon Airport attempted to recreate the Irish Coffee. The tests were not really there because the taste is not suitable and the cream did not hold above the coffee. According to legend, Stanton Deaplane almost passed out after tasting numerous tests of Irish Coffee.
It is said that in 1952, Sheridan moved to the United States after accepting a place in this Buena Vista in San Francisco. There is a memorial plaque on his grave in Oakland, California, inscribed that he is the inventor of one of the most consumed beverages in the world.
The Foynes Airport Museum holds an annual Irish Coffee Festival in May-June, including a World Irish Coffee Achievement Championship.
A small parenthesis to say that another story exists as to the origin of Irish Coffee and tells that it was invented by Joe Jackson at the Ulster Hotel located in Ballybofey in the Irish county of Donegal, a hotel he bought in 1945.
* Cocktail Mag tip: The single cream can sometimes be difficult to hold over the coffee, which is why many bars replace it with whipped cream even if it is not the original recipe. A little advice if you have trouble keeping the cream together: mix and beat some whipped cream with single cream (50/50), and leave to cool for a few minutes. Lighter, the mixture will layer much better over the coffee.