According to legend, in the early 1940s, a Pan Am flying boat docked near Shannon Airport. The freezing passengers were greeted by bartender and chef Joe Sheridan, who poured Irish whiskey into the coffee he served them. When asked what they were drinking, he told them it was Irish coffee.Sheridan later emigrated to San Francisco, where it is believed he perfected and popularized the drink. If you want to sip it on St. Patrick’s Day, try Erin’s Isle restaurant at the public Hibiscus Golf Club. Owner Mike Ward,whose ancestors hail from Galway and Cork, has been serving the drink at different locations for nearly four decades. While he offers variations such as the Dublin coffee (Irish Mist and whiskey with no sugar), Ward finds that the classic version trumps all others on March 17. “People definitely want some sweetness to balance the whiskey,” he says.
To make it at home, simply pour 1.5 jiggers (2.25 ounces) of your favorite Irish whiskey in a clear glass mug, along with two packets of sugar. Add coffee,and top with whipped cream. The original recipe calls for brown sugar and aged heavy cream, but on St. Patrick’s Day everyone can be as Irish as they want to be.