San Francisco: Here’s How To Make The Buena Vista Cafe’s Famous Irish Coffee

It’s no surprise that Irish Coffee was invented in Ireland. Designed by a chef named Joe Sheridan, it was only made famous in America when journalist Stan Delaplane was served one while passing through Ireland in 1951. At the time, Irish Coffee had already won in popularity in Ireland and had become the home drink at the airport. .

When Stan returned to San Francisco, he told his friend, and Buena Vista Café owner, Jack Koeppler, about the delicious drink he had tried. They tried to reproduce it on their own, but it never seemed to look like the original. They just couldn’t get the right cream. After much experimentation and a return trip to Ireland, the two finally found success. Irish coffee Buena Vista was born.

Since 1952, The Buena Vista has sold millions of glasses of its delicious original Irish coffees over the years. On a busy day they can sell over 2,000 glasses and they report that they sell more Irish whiskey than anywhere else in the world. From the crowds we witnessed inside, it’s not hard to believe.

Authentic Irish Coffee from San Francisco at Buena Vista Cafe

As you can imagine, the bar can be filled with patrons looking to sample their famous Irish Coffee.

A busy Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco

Fun fact: If you get your Irish Coffee to go to Buena Vista you are served a miniature bottle of Tullamore DEW (their Irish whiskey of choice) on the side to get around thelocal alcohol laws. But once you’re outside the restaurant, all you need to do is open the little bottle and pour the whiskey into the cafe yourself. This option allows you to have your authentic Irish Buena Vista coffee in order to continue exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Irish coffee Buena Vistsa San Francisco to go

Located on the corner of Hyde and Beach streets, overlooking Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, the Buena Vista Cafe isn’t around for most of us. On a recent visit we found out that they are kind enough to give their recipe in a cute little brochure. And we share their recipe with you.

COFFEE: For the perfect brew, Buena Vista uses Breakfast Blend roast from local Peerless Coffee & Tea roaster in Oakland, California. You can enter the exact Peerless Coffee & Tea Breakfast Mix in a 2lb bag of whole beans on Amazon.

For a close to the real thing alternative, use a smooth, rich medium roast coffee blend that you enjoy.Peerless Coffee & Tea Breakfast Mix Sachet

WHISKEY: The Buena Vista Café uses exclusively Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey in their Irish cafes. Average at around $ 37 to $ 39 a bottle, they’re very reasonable and a well-stocked liquor store should carry it. If you prefer to order online and save time and energy, you can easily have the Tullamore DEW shipped straight to your ReserveBar door instead.

Tullamore DEW Original

With a subtle and smooth complexity, Tullamore DEW Original is the first triple dist … [More]

Price: $ 37.00

SUGAR: Sugar cubes are the only way to go in this cocktail for that touch of sweetness. The Buena Vista adds 2 white sugar cubes to each glass for their recipe.

CREAM: In order for the cream top of Irish Coffee to float properly, the heavy cream should be lightly whipped until it is thick and frothy, but not stiff. A cheap milk frother or electric frother works great for this recipe. They’re also great anytime you want a latte or other coffee-style drink at home.

THE COFFEE GLASS: For the most authentic and authentic Buena Vista Irish coffee ever, serve it in a heat-resistant clear glass cup or assault. This allows you to see the beautiful layers of Irish coffee which definitely adds to the whole experience. You can also get the same style of irish coffee glasses they use in the restaurant at Buena Vista on Amazon.

Authentic Irish Coffee from San Francisco at Buena Vista Cafe


Authentic Irish Coffee from San Francisco at Buena Vista Cafe

The famous Irish cafe Buena Vista

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Irish Coffee was invented by Chef Joe Sheridan in Ireland and made famous in America by Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco. Since 1952, they have sold millions of their perfected Irish coffees over the years. They are still served to this day at the Buena Vista. Here’s how you can enjoy it at home.

Classes Cocktails, drinks

Cooked Irish


  • Fill an 8-ounce heat-resistant clear glass with hot water to warm the glass. Pour when the glass is warm to the touch. Add the whiskey to the glass.

  • Fill the glass 3/4 full with hot coffee then add the 2 lumps of sugar. Stir until completely dissolved.

  • Holding a spoon over the glass. Start slowly pouring the slightly thickened whipped cream from the spoon into the glass until it is full.

  • Enjoy your Buena Vista Irish Coffee!

Keyword coffee drink, Irish Coffee, San francisco

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Jothi Venkat

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