San Francisco, CA
The Irish Coffee arrived in America by way of San Francisco
in 1952, when Jack Koeppler, then-owner of The Buena Vista Cafe, attempted to recreate the original Irish Coffee from the Shannon Airport in Ireland. He methodically experimented with different mixes, eventually concluding that the secret lay in the cream. When the cream was aged for 48 hours and frothed, it floated perfectly on the coffee. Koeppler’s cocktail was an overnight success.
Today, the Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista Cafe still draws in crowds. Formally-dressed bartenders line up as many as 28 dainty, stemmed glasses—whose tulip shape helps regulate pours—on the bar, then fill them with hot water to warm the vessels. The cocktail is a mix of two sugar cubes, hot coffee and a slug of Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, but the key ingredient is still a topping of two-days-old, unsweetened whipped cream. The Buena Vista Cafe has poured millions of Irish Coffees over the years and can serve over 2,000 cups daily.