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Warm Up with Some St. Patrick’s Day History & Irish Coffee

Mar 14, 2017 04:02PM ● By Linda Ditch

“Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.”

                                    –– an Irish toast

No matter where your ancestors came from and whether you have German, English, Italian, Mexican, or another background, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish have celebrated this religious holiday for thousands of years in honor of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. He died on March 17, 460 AD and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland by integrating many pagan rituals into religious celebrations. However, the famous story of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland is thought to be a legend.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in New York City in 1762. Irish soldiers serving with the British marched through the city in honor of their homeland. As Irish immigration flourished in the United States, so did the holiday. People of all nationalities throughout the world now celebrate this day.

Since winter has decided to celebrate the holiday with us, you can ease your chilled bones with a warm cup of Irish coffee made with Irish whiskey. This drink was created in 1942 by Chef Joseph Sheridan as a way to warm some chilly American passengers at Foynes Airbase in Western Ireland and later at Shannon International Airport. He immigrated to Oakland, California, in 1952 to work at the Buena Vista Café. He is buried in Oakland, and a plaque at his graveside reads, “Here lies Joe Sheridan, the inventor of the world’s most famous drink: Irish coffee.”

Irish Coffee

Serves 1

2 tsp brown sugar
6 oz hot coffee
1 to 2 oz Irish whiskey
Heavy cream          

1. Pour boiling water into a stemmed glass or glass coffee mug to warm. Pour more water into a separate small glass and insert a teaspoon to warm.

2. Once the glass is warm, pour out the water and add the brown sugar. Pour the coffee on top and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the whiskey, stir, and wait for the beverage to become still.

4. Whip the cream until thick—not too stiff but not too liquid. Using the warmed teaspoon, pour the cream over the back of the spoon into the glass so it floats on top. Raise the spoon slowly as you pour. Do not stir. Drink the coffee through the cream for the best flavor. 

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