Why 2019 Will Be The Year For Irish Coffees

It’s the time of year when everyone is wondering, “what is the next big thing?”

If you’re a gin lover, you’re still on trend. We all downed half a million bottles of pink gin last year, from Gordon’s and Beefeater to our home-grown craft brands.

Whiskey is bigger than ever and rumour has it that 2019 will be the year of the Irish coffee. There are now 21 distilleries in Ireland and the number of Irish whiskies on the market continues to grow.

Before lattes and cappuccinos, before frappuccinos and espressos, there was Irish Coffee. It’s still one of the world’s most popular after-dinner drinks, yet not that much is known about why and how it became so popular.

Margaret O’Shaughnessy, the Founding Director at Foynes Flying Boat museum in County Limerick, believes the flying boat terminal at Foynes, 35 miles from Shannon, was the location for the first Irish Coffee.

The inventor, bartender Joe Sheridan, later moved to San Francisco and worked at the Buena Vista Cafe where journalist Stanton Delaplane of the San Francisco Chronicle had brought back the secret formula from Ireland and started one of the world’s most famous drinks.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that after sampling Irish Coffee at Foynes in 1951 Delaplane flew home and he spent a long evening at the Buena Vista Cafe near the foot of Hyde Street working out the proper balance of ingredients. Overnight Jack Koeppler, the late owner of what had been a quiet neighbourhood bar, found himself the proprietor of the most prosperous saloon in the city.

larry Why 2019 Will Be The Year For Irish Coffees
Larry Nolan has been topping Irish Coffees at the Buena Vista Cafe for over 40 years.

Despite it being an incredible success, Delaplane later admitted he couldn’t stand the stuff yet found his name forever linked to it.

Today the Buena Vista serves up to 2,000 Irish coffees a day. The busiest day they’ve ever had was the Super Bowl in 1982, 49ers vs. Miami. Three bartenders served 109 bottles of whiskey between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The night crew served another 104. There are 29 drinks per bottle. So that means the pub served well over 6,000 drinks that day, or 6,177 to be exact.