With Irish available and delectable in three styles–as straight whiskey, in cream liqueurs and in honey liqueurs–there’ll be recipes for each herein, and I’ll set the record straight on Irish Coffee. There’ll be a recipe for that, too. And you’ll find more notes on things for wine-lovers plus Poured With Pleasure."

First, let’s make an Irish Coffee according to the recipe given out by the drink’s onlie begetter, the fabled Joe Sheridan.

Joe Sheridan’s Original Irish Coffee Recipe

1 measure Irish whiskey
1 measure strong black coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh whipping cream

Heat the glass with boiling water and add the whiskey, sugar and the hot coffee. [If you’re of a mind to stir, do it or forever hold your spoon.] Float the cream on top, pouring it into a spoon just resting on the surface and raising lifting the spoon as you go. Do not stir. Irish coffee is best enjoyed by sipping the coffee through the cream.


Which brand of whiskey? Joe preferred John Powers or John Jameson, but also approved of Tullamore Dew–and some people prefer Irish Mist or Celtic Crossing liqueur. Joe said sugar was a must–otherwise the cream won’t float–and for himself liked "two lumps" (i.e., cocktail cubes, not rectangular sugar tablets). Some mixologists prefer brown sugar and whipping the cream slightly to aerate it. The traditional glass is a stemmed whiskey goblet.

Now to Irish Coffee’s origins. Once within living memory all airplanes had propellors and some have landing gear. The latter were the mighty flying boats, such as the Martin 130 and–greatest of them all–the Boeing 314. Unlike a seaplane, which perches above the water on pontoons, a B-314 flying boat is actually a boat or ship that sits the water: its fuselage is its hull.

Flying boats began scheduled transatlantic commercial passenger service in 1939. "Non-stop" was but wishful thinking then, and many flying boats called at Foynes in County Limerick, Ireland. An airbase with fuel and maintenance services, Foynes lay on the Shannon Estuary, a sheltered body of water but a short (even when cruising at 188 mph) hop to England or Europe, then quaintly called "the Continent." (In the event of weather or mechanical delays, which could be protracted in the piston-engine era, Foynes was handy to the diversions of Limerick and Newmarket-on-Fergus. Neither was it such a long way to Tipperary, although Ballybunnion would have been a stretch.)

And it was at Foynes in the Flying Boat Age that one of the world’s most famous cocktails, Irish Coffee, was invented by Joe Sheridan, chef and possibly bartender (and more likely both) of the airport’s restaurant.

Now there are those who say the manger of this drink is Shannon International; all you can do is hear them out politely, thank them profusely and pay them no mind. Confusion has arisen because after World War II land planes took over the transatlantic and the great flying boats "faded to Bolivian." Traffic (and Sheridan) shifted to Rineanna–now Shannon International (IATA code SNN)–and that’s where a commemmorative Irish Coffee plaque was erected. This is a Bar Bet Winner–and so is : Shannon’s place in aviation history is secure as site of the world’s first duty-free shop, established in 1946.

Foynes is not utterly forgotten, however. It is the site of an Irish Coffee Festival every summer and its Flying Boat Museum has a life-size mock-up of a Boeing 314. ‘Tis a pity but all of the real ones have gone long since to the White Elephants’ Graveyard.

Joe was a little shaky on when he created his drink (he’s been quoted as saying 1938 and 1942) and why (for an airport celebration or as a cheering warmer for stranded passengers), but his claim to its creation is undoubted and unconested.

Now to more cocktails!

Irish Whiskey Cocktails

created by Dale DeGroff, author of "The Craft of the Cocktail"

1 1/2 oz. Jameson Irish
1 1/2 oz. simple syrup or a level teaspoon of sugar
4 seedless green grapes
2 lime wedges

Muddle the lime, grapes and syrup in a bar glass. Add Jameson and ice. Shake well and strain over ice in a rocks glass.


1 part Tullamore Dew
1 sliced lemon
2 lumps of sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mug, fill with hot water and stir well. Garnish with a cinnamon stick


Created by Jim Meehan, of New York’s PDT and Pegu Club
1 oz. Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
1 oz. Champagne
1 oz. Guinness
Pour whiskey into a pint glass and top with equal parts Guinness and Champagne.

Irish Cream Cocktails


2 oz. Baileys Irish Mint Chocolate Cream
1 scoop coffee ice cream, softened
2 oz. expresso, cooled
Cocoa powder

Put Baileys, ice cream and expresso in a cocktail shaker; add ice cubes and shake vigorously until the ice cream has melted. Strain into a short tumbler and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Variation: Chocolate or vanilla ice cream can be used as well.


1 oz. Tullamore Dew
1 oz. Irish Mist
1 oz. Carolans Irish Cream

Shake with ice and serve on the rocks or
as a shooter.

Irish Liqueur Cocktails


2 oz. SKYY Orange Vodka
1 oz. Irish Mist

Serve chilled straight up with an orange slice.


1 oz. Celtic Crossing
1 oz. Boru vodka
4 oz. lemonade

Pour all ingredients into a tall, ice-filled glass, stir well and garnish with a strip of lemon peel.