How to

How to try two of the most famous Irish coffee recipes at the same time

Serving the world’s most famous Irish coffees, the two bars join forces for one night to celebrate Irish Coffee Day.

The history of cocktails can often be a bit somber and controversial – which makes sense considering alcohol is involved – but it’s fairly accepted that Irish coffee was first created in Ireland and then popularized by two bars in the United States was made: the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco and the Dead Rabbit in New York.

The drink first appeared in 1943 at Foynes Flying Boat harbour, near Limerick, Ireland, by bartender and chef Joe Sheridan, who was looking for a way to warm up some stranded fliers, said Tim Herlihy, the founder of Lost Irish Whiskey.

Foynes was later closed and replaced by Shannon Airport which served as a hub for transatlantic flights. In 1952, travel writer Stanton Deleplane told Jack Koeppler, then the owner of Buena Vista Café, about the drink and the two tried to recreate the drink but couldn’t make it taste “quite right” and had trouble getting the cream to swim to the top , according to the Buena Vista Cafe.

Koeppler even traveled to Ireland to try the drink himself, and worked with the Mayor of San Francisco, a dairy farmer, to get the cream right, which meant letting it mature for 48 hours and then frothing it. The bar started serving it in a heated 6 ounce glass and over the years what a few people in Ireland had tried became a niche drink that exploded in popularity.

Buena Vista Cafe near San Francisco Bay remains a must for lovers of Irish whiskey and the drink.

“The Buena Vista is not only known for its Irish coffee, it is known for its bar theater and showmanship. When I first went to Buena Vista, bartender Larry was making a dozen Irish coffees at once at breakneck speed. Larry was as talented a bartender as he was a talented magician, entertaining guests with a variety of magic tricks in between serving Irish coffees.” Herlihy said, “A real Irish coffee and must visit an iconic bar.”

Across the country, Dead Rabbit, a bar that opened almost a decade ago and has won numerous awards, began serving a version of Irish coffee that has also become famous. Founders Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon created their version after a customer asked for one, and it didn’t go well, according to Jillian Vose, who co-wrote Paddy Drinks: The World Of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails with McGarry and Muldoon.

According to a Vose blog post, Mudloon told her: “We called ourselves an Irish bar, but we just weren’t set up to serve this simple, classic drink. It was a disaster. There was hot water and sugar and cream everywhere. I would do one and the next would be terrible. It was a nightmare.”

The version they finally settled on uses a sous vide machine and protein shaker, although they do offer a recipe for a home version (see below) as well as full instructions for making the Irish coffee for purchase.

The one-night-only pop-up featuring Lost Irish Whiskey, an Irish whiskey with a global flair that’s a combination of three whiskey styles and aged in casks from six continents. Tickets for the event, which takes place at the Dead Rabbit on January 25th from 6pm to 9pm, are available on Resy. For $150, you get both the Buenva Vista and The Dead Rabbit versions, along with Frozen Irish Coffee and an Irish Whiskey Espresso Martini, along with strained hors d’oeuvres.

For those who can’t make it, here’s how to make both versions:

Dead Rabbit’s Irish Coffee

Servings: 1


6 oz Georgian coffee glass (very important)

1 Ounce Lost Irish Irish Whiskey

.625 oz (2:1) Rich Demerara Sugar Syrup

3.5 ounces of freshly ground and brewed dark roast coffee

Thumbs of the prepared cream

Freshly ground nutmeg for garnish


1. Preheat a 6-ounce heatproof jar by filling it with hot water. Empty the glass as soon as it is warm.

2. Add whiskey, simple syrup and coffee to glass and stir quickly to combine ingredients.

3. Spread a thumb layer of freshly whipped cream on top.

4. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Buena Vista’s Irish Coffee

Servings: 1


6 oz Georgian coffee glass

1.75 oz Lost Irish Irish Whiskey

2 cubes of C&H sugar

2 ounces of peerless organic coffee

2 ounces heavy cream


1. Preheat a 6-ounce heatproof jar by filling it with hot water. Empty the glass as soon as it is warm.

2. Put the sugar cubes in the glass, followed by the coffee.

3. Stir quickly to combine ingredients and finish with a whiskey frosting.

4. Spread a thumb layer of whipped cream on top.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button