Friday, January 25, 2013

Foynes, #Ireland and #Irish #Coffee

Irish Coffee by Dmitri Chekhter

January 25

Irish Coffee 

Happy Irish Coffee Day. This warm beverage is the perfect treat for those cold winter days. Irish coffee is an Irish beverage that was created in 1942 by Chef Joe Sheridan of County Tyrone, Ireland. Coffee cocktails are nothing to new to the world. Variations of coffee cocktails have been created for a little over 100 years but it the idea of adding the ingredients found in Irish Coffee had never been tried until Chef Joe Sheriden concocted the mixture. It has been a popular drink ever since.

Foynes, Ireland

Seaplanes at Foynes, Ireland - 1938
Public Domain
Ireland was a popular destination for Americans between 1939 to 1945. A flying boat is a fixed winged sea craft with a hull that allows it to land in water.Trip across the Atlantic Ocean was a long endeavor via a flying boat that often times required several stop for fuel. The first non stop flight from New York City to Foynes, Ireland occurred on June 22, 1942. The trip lasted 25 hour and 40 minutes in flight.

Seaports were especially important during this time as port of entries and fueling stops. Foynes, Ireland   in County Limerick, was used by Pan-American Airlines as their port of entry in Ireland, and was the furthermost port of call on the Eastern seaboard of the Atlantic Ocean. Pan-American flights were not the only ones who used the Foynes Airport. The Foynes Airport thrived from 1939 to 1945, bringing all types of people to Ireland from royalty to drifters. After passengers landed the would board a boat that would take inland to the terminal. You can learn more about the airport from the Foynes Flying Boat Museum at

A Miserable Winter Day

 Our story of how Chef Joe Sheridan invented Irish Coffee begins during the winter of 1943 at the airport in Foynes, Ireland. Joe had been working at Brandon O'Regan's restaurant and coffee shop in the Foynes terminal. The restaurant was considered to be one of the best restaurants in all of Ireland. One winter, damp day, a flight left from Foynes for Botwood, Newfoundland. The weather grew worse after several hours of flying. The captain decided to turn the plane around and head back to Foynes. He sent a Morse code message to Foynes informing them of their return. Foynes staff members were contacted to return to work. When the passengers landed they escorted to the restaurant so the passengers could dine and warm themselves up with something to drink. 

Chef Joe Sheridan had been asked to give the Americans something warm to drink. The Irish had been adding whiskey to their hot tea for years. He also knew Americans loved their coffee. He decided in order to show these distraught foreigners something they could appreciate with a touch of Irish hospitality. Joe mixed the coffee cocktail together with a touch of Irish Whiskey. One of the passengers he served it to asked him if it was "Brazilian Coffee." To which, Joe replied, "No that's Irish Coffee." A few weeks later, Brandon O'Regan decided to add Joe's creation to the menu. You can see Joe's original recipe here.

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