Irish Coffee, American Ingenuity

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...It isn’t even really all that Irish. But then, neither is St. Patrick’s Day as celebrated in the United States. Like the holiday we know here, Irish coffee is a truly Irish-American creation — a mere shot’s worth of tradition percolated and whipped up into something over the top.

Its beginnings were trans-Atlantic, not to mention aeronautical. Legend dictates that it was first served in the 1940s at a County Limerick air terminal that was later replaced by Shannon Airport, supposedly to passengers stranded in a winter storm who needed both a quick pick-me-up and a stiff belt. In the ’50s, a travel writer took it to San Francisco, where the Buena Vista Cafe made it a signature....

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