If you're one of those travelers who keep putting off visitng offbeat icons of American cities, you've blown your opportunity to try America's original Irish coffee.
The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, the American home of Irish coffee and the single largest U.S. commercial consumer of Irish whiskey, has changed the recipe of its legendary drink.
According to my colleagues at the San Francisco Chronicle, who seem rather exercised by the whole affair, "The BV has switched from its own private brand of Irish whiskey, made by the Cooley distillery in County Louth, Ireland, to Tullamore Dew, mass produced in Dublin. The change is so subtle it can hardly be noticed, but the difference between the two Irish whiskeys has sent shock waves though the world of Irish coffee drinkers."
The change was occasioned when cafe owner Bob Freeman decided that Tullamore is smoother and better than the whiskey he had been using.
The Buena Vista, says the Chronicle, "is where Irish coffee first came to America, 54 years ago this month" and it consumes "18,720 liter-sized bottles (of Irish whiskey) a year. The Buena Vista is the cathedral of Irish coffee in the United States."
Bartender Joe Sheridan invented the drink at Shannon airport in Ireland. Stanton Delaplane, the iconic Chronicle travel writer, discovered it there and convinced Jack Koeppler, owner of the Buena Vista, to bring it to the United States. Thus, when anything about the recipe changes, the Chron folks get antsy about the Irish coffee first served in the U.S. on Nov. 10, 1952.
You can read the Chron's story here. And, you can read the Buena Vista Cafe's full story here.
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