Irish coffee (Irish: caife Gaelach) is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar (some recipes specify that brown sugarshould be used), stirred, and topped with thick cream. The coffee is drunk through the cream. The original recipe explicitly uses cream that has not been whipped, although drinks made with whipped cream are often sold as "Irish coffee".
Although different variations of coffee cocktails pre-date the now-classic Irish coffee by at least 100 years, the original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan, a head chef in Foynes, County Limerick but originally from Castlederg, County Tyrone. Foynes' portwas the precursor to Shannon International Airport in the west of Ireland. The coffee was conceived after a group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying boat on a miserable winter evening in the 1940s. Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan told them it was "Irish coffee".
Black coffee is poured into the mug. Whiskey and at least one level teaspoon of sugar is stirred in until fully dissolved. The sugar is essential for floating liquid cream on top. Thick cream is carefully poured over the back of a spoon initially held just above the surface of the coffee and gradually raised a little. The layer of cream will float on the coffee without mixing. The coffee is drunk through the layer of cream.