Irish Coffee- A WWII Drink

800px-Irish_coffee_glass

Who doesn’t know that warm beverage called Irish Coffee? Often mistakenly credited to the Hollywood actress Maureen O’Hara as having invented it. However the only connection Maureen has with it is her is O’Hara’s husband, Captain Charlie Blair, who was one of the pilots who used to fly the sea planes into Foynes, and flew the last commercial sea plane out of Foynes.Co. Limerick,Ireland.

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The drink was ‘invented’ by Joe Sheridan, a head chef at the restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes AirbaseFlying boat terminal building.

In 1943, Brendan O’Regan opened a restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes terminal building. It quickly became regarded as one of the best restaurants in Ireland. Chef Joe Sheridan, originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone, had been recruited by O’Regan to run the kitchen.

Uiche Be Atha

Late one  night in the winter of 1943, a flight left Foynes for New York. During the 1930′s and 40′s Foynes was one of the most important airports in Western Europe. After flying for several hours in bad weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes  wait for the weather  conditions to improve . A Morse code message was sent to the Foynes control tower to inform them of the return. Staff were called back in and the passengers were brought to the restaurant upon landing for food and drink.

Foynes-Flying-Boat

 

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”

One of the passengers was Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle,worked with the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco to start serving it on November 10, 1952, and worked with the bar owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg to recreate the Irish method for floating the cream on top of the coffee, sampling the drink one night until he nearly passed out.

Without blowing my own trumpet( and yet I am) some of my family members say I make a darn good Irish Coffee.

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Sources

Flyingboatmuseum

RTE

 

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