I’d moved to the San Francisco Bay area just the year before when a guy I’d met took me out on the town. It was a cold, wintry night in San Francisco, so we stopped in late at the Buena Vista to warm up with an Irish coffee. Maybe you didn’t know that Irish coffee was invented in San Francisco at the Buena Vista on a cold November evening in 1952. Jack Koeppler, who owned the Buena Vista, challenged Stanton Delaplane (a travel writer) to help re-create a much beloved “Irish Coffee” served at Shannon Airport in Ireland. And the experiment that ended with this plaque began.
Fast forward to the future: We stopped in on a warm August day, not to warm chilled bones, but to enjoy a San Francisco institution with our nephew. And enjoy, we did. Now that winter’s approaching and the weather is a bit chilly, I thought it might be time to share the traditional Irish coffee recipe. It’ll come in handy after a long day of skiing or ice-skating. Does anyone ice-skate any more? Anyway, here’s the authentic BV recipe for your winter enjoyment:
Warm the glass
by filling it with hot water. If you don’t have the right glass, use a seven-ounce coffee cup.
Add hot coffee, sugar cubes, Irish whiskey
Works just as well. Empty the water out and fill the cup with hot coffee, about 3/4 full. Drop in two sugar cubes and stir until they’re dissolved. Then, add a jigger of Irish whiskey. Don’t stint!
Top with whipped cream
You’ve already lightly whipped some heavy whipping cream, so top the glass or mug with the cream, pouring it over the hot spoon you just used. Some say you should pour it over the back of the spoon but that’s not what the BV bartender is doing.
And for heaven’s sake DO NOT STIR! Irish coffee is meant to be enjoyed by sipping it THROUGH the collar of cream. Don’t let it cool, either. It’s best when piping hot.
It’s delicious, and a perfect winter cocktail. Have one!
Here’s the story if you’d like to read more about how the drink was invented.