A Cocktail Tale: Seven Grand's Irish Coffee

— by Caroline on Crack


There’s nothing like a nice cuppa Irish coffee on a chilly winter night, even if that winter night is about 50 degrees. You’ve probably had the Irish coffee that’s sweetened with Bailey’s and topped with canned whipped cream and maybe even sprinkled with cocoa. That’s all well and good but if you want it done right, the original way, Seven Grand’s bartender Marcos Tello told me how. He asked that I not post the bar’s exact recipe but I can point you in the general direction.

Back story of Irish coffee: It was created in 1942 by a chef named Joe Sheridan who created the yummy concoction to offer passengers a warm welcome to the Foynes Airport in Ireland. San Francisco is the city that introduced the drink to North America via the Buena Vista Cafe which still exists today (on Beach and Hyde Streets) and serves about 2,000 Irish coffees a day.

Seven Grand’s Irish coffee recipe a la Marcos:

  • Powers Irish Whiskey: “This was the original one Joe used and the only one that Seven Grand uses with their Irish Coffee Recipe.”
  • Brown sugar: “This was the original sweetener that Joe used as well.”
  • Coffee: “The key is not to drown the whiskey with coffee, only accent it.”

“Stir these ingredients well. Layer in freshly whipped heavy cream. (Again we whip our cream ‘a la minute,’ per coffee for the freshest ‘whip’ available.)”

If you want to know the measurements, Buena Vista’s recipe has similar ones.

On Saturday, I ordered one from Marcos while bar manager Patrick, who was looking very jaunty in his fedora, made my friend one. Marcos used more sugar than Patrick did which was fine by me and Patrick seemed to use more whiskey which is always a good thing. In either case, it was a tasty treat to enjoy on the patio on a January evening. Chill? What chill?