Today is the the US' National Irish Coffee Day (Jan 25). To honor this and the fact that the weather in the north east of the USA frightful, we've put together a short history of this fine drink and we're sharing the perfect Irish coffee recipe.

The Irish coffee was invented by Limerick chef Joseph Sheridan in 1942 to welcome Americans visiting Ireland. The travelers arrived in the west of Ireland on a cold winter night, so Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee to warm them up, telling the Americans they were being served Irish coffee.

A San Francisco Chronicle travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, brought the recipe back to the U.S. after drinking Irish coffee at Shannon Airport. It was first served at the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco on November 10, 1952.

This is it! The perfect Irish cofffee recipe especially for the US' National Irish Coffee Day.

75ml/3fl oz double cream, well chilled

2 tbsps light muscovado sugar

2 tbsps whiskey

2 tbsps Baileys

2 tbsps Kahúla (coffee liqueur)

300ml/11fl oz freshly brewed piping-hot espresso coffee

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, to decorate.

I've perfected this recipe over time and believe it really is the best-ever Irish coffee. Heat the glasses, if you can be bothered (to keep the coffee hot for longer), by pouring boiling water over them from a kettle and turning them carefully so that they do not crack. Or you could take glasses straight from the dishwasher while still hot. Serves two.

Place the cream in a bowl and whip lightly, then chill until needed. Heat a small, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Sprinkle the sugar over the base of the frying pan and heat for one minute, without stirring -- the sugar will caramelise. Pour in the whiskey and quickly light with a match or flambé -- the sugar will seize and harden, but don't worry as it will melt again once the flames die down. Stir in the Baileys and Kahúla and cook over a high heat for three to four minutes until smooth, stirring constantly to help the sugar dissolve.

Divide the alcohol mixture between two hefty, thick-stemmed glasses (both about 250ml/9fl oz in capacity) then carefully pour in the coffee. Then, over the back of a metal spoon, carefully pour a layer of cream on top (the spoon trick really is worth doing as it helps prevent the cream from sinking). Add a tiny grating of nutmeg and serve at once.