Foynes was an airbase near Limerick, in fact it was the main airport for Flying Boats between America and Europe. By 1940, the airport was handling many passengers, including many American VIP's from the world of politics and Hollywood. Weather conditions along the West coast of Ireland can be notoriously bad, and often what was supposed to be just a stopover for refuelling turned into an overnight stay. In 1942 a new restaurant opened, which had the task of catering for the many important passengers passing through Foynes and present a very positive image of Ireland and its people to the world.
The new restaurant came under the responsibility of a young Irish Chef, Joe Sheridan. One winter night, in 1942, a flight left Foynes for Botwood in Newfoundland and then on to New York. After several hours of battling a storm, the pilot decided to turn back to Foynes - which was unfortunately not an unusual occurrence. As always, the restaurant was informed to prepare food and drink, as passengers would be cold and tired.
Joe Sheridan decided to prepare something special to warm the passengers up. He brewed dark, rich coffee, added in some Irish whiskey, a little brown sugar and floated freshly whipped cream on top of each cup. The story goes that there was a hushed silence as people drank this brew for the first time. "Hey Buddy," said a surprised American passenger, "is this Brazilian coffee?" "No," said Joe, "that's Irish Coffee."
Joe is still fondly remembered in Shannon and the story of Irish Coffee is commemorated in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.
Pay attention to choose a real irish whiskey (Jameson, Bushmills, Paddy, Tullamore or others). Look at the spelling - Scottish whisky is written whithout an "e".
- Gently warm an Irish Whiskey/Coffee glass in hot water.
- Pour whiskey and sugar into the glass and stir.
- Add the fresh made coffee filling the glass to within half an inch or so of the top.
- Pour the cream onto the top of the mixture gently using the back of a spoon to prevent splashing. Do not stir.
Add grated chocolate or cinnamon to the top if required.
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