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Classic Irish Coffee Recipe

Classic Irish Coffee Recipe

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This traditional hot drink is the best antidote to being so overwhelmed by the cold you don't even feel like going out. It will undoubtedly kick off your evening right.


  • 5 Ounces fresh, hot coffee
  • 1.5 Ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 Teaspoon brown sugar
  • Whipped cream

Original Irish Coffee

The Irish coffee is an iconic cocktail, and the original recipe is not difficult. It requires four common ingredients: The combination of a smooth Irish whiskey with rich black coffee that's sweetened and topped with cream is an absolute delight.

This recipe was created in Ireland by Joe Sheridan in the early 1940s. Despite some common shortcuts, authentic Irish coffee is not as simple as spiking coffee with a shot of whiskey. Instead, this is a well-planned, carefully constructed coffee drink that should be mixed with the care of any latte or cappuccino. That said, it is actually quite easy.

Choose a great Irish whiskey and follow the recipe, and you'll discover why this classic is considered one of the best cocktails of all time. Perfect for a chilly evening, it makes an excellent after-dinner drink that you'll want to share with everyone you know.

Classic Irish Coffee Recipe

Yield: 1 serving



1. In a medium bowl, whisk heavy cream vigorously until it begins to thicken. Cream should be thick, but still pour-able. Set aside.

2. In an Irish coffee glass, combine sugar, whiskey and hot coffee. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Top with a ¾” collar of thickened whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Pro Tip: While many tout the power of Irish whiskey, whipped cream is the true key to an authentic Irish coffee. It needs to float on top of the drink in a distinct layer, but still be semi-liquid. To make it happen, whip heavy cream it until it’s slightly thickened, but doesn’t yet hold peaks. When assembling your drink, make sure the coffee is super hot, as that thick rim of cream will cool it down considerably.

Irish Coffee

Coffee cocktails are just about as sinful a beverage as we can think of. They are a direct jolt of caffeine and booze straight to the system that is perfect for the start or end of the night. Irish coffee is one the most classic coffee mixed drinks. It is the perfect combination of sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey, and (of course) whipped cream . It's cozy, delicious, and incredibly easy to make.

First, you'll want to warm the mugs. The best way to do this: let hot water sit in the mug, then dump it out. Irish coffee is traditional served in a glass mug, and the quick step of preheating the mug prevents cracking upon pouring. It'll also take the chill off of your mug and ensure that your drink stays warm for longer.

Next, dissolve brown sugar in hot coffee then add the whiskey. You could use granulated sugar, but we the caramel and molasses notes from the brown sugar pair well with the booze.

Finally, make whipped cream! You're looking for the mixture to hold soft peaks while remaining pourable. To pour the whipped cream, pour whipped cream over the back of a spoon to form a pillowy, foamy topping.

Have you made this recipe? Rate it below and let us know how you liked it!

How Bartenders Are Modernizing the Irish Coffee: 6 Recipes

Every bar has coffee, whiskey, and cream—and combining them with a touch of brown sugar results in a mighty fine cocktail. The classic Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s on a cold winter's night in Ireland's Shannon Airport and brought to the U.S. by Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, whoworked with San Francisco's Buena Vista Cafe to popularize the drink in the 1950s.

Now, 60-ish years later, the quintessential winter warmer is going through another evolution, thanks to innovative bartenders whoare infusing whiskey with ground espresso, whipping a stout reduction into fresh cream, and even heating a sous-vide bath to 75.2 degrees to keep the coffee/sugar mixture at the perfect temperature. Each of these 6 recipes injects a new, precise twist into the ingredients or presentation, but without changing the fundamentals that have made it a classic.As Sam Treadway, bartender at Backbar in Somerville, Massachusetts, puts it, the drink sticks around not only because it's delicious but because it satisfies the "upper and downer effect we all need sometimes."

"Plus," he adds, "it's a way classier choice than a vodka–Red Bull."

Classic Irish Coffee Recipe

But I digress, today is all about the Irish Coffee. This Irish coffee unites all the coffee drinkers, booze lovers and sugar addicts into a cup of perfection. You want the secret? It&rsquos all in high quality coffee (great list of high quality coffee brands) and the cream. The cream should be just whipped, so just slightly starting to become whipped. It should still be pourable, but a little thick. This makes it possible for the coffee to come through and not just having a thick dollop of cream floating on top. You can se what I made in the photo below.

Add hot water to your mugs and let it sit for a few minutes to heat them up. Pour it out and add in the high quality coffee. Stir in brown sugar and whiskey and it&rsquos ready for the cream. Take a spoon over the mug and pour the thick, pourable cream at the back of the spoon. This way the cream will stay on top of the coffee, and it&rsquos liquid enough for you to reach the coffee and not just the cream! How genius is this! I&rsquom totally giving this a try on hot chocolate too. It&rsquos always been an element of irritation that the cream just floats and is impossible to get to. Perfect.

Hope you&rsquoll enjoy this classic yet delicious Irish whiskey! And if you want to really up the game and celebrate Ireland tomorrow, I suggest whipping up a batch of these Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Irish Baileys Frosting for dessert.

Did you like this Irish Coffee? Why not try these as well:

How are you celebrating St. Patrick&rsquos Day?

I&rsquod love to hear your thoughts, either in the comment section below, or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. Don&rsquot forget to Pin it for later!

In order to keep the blog up and running this post contains affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.

A Few Popular Variations on the Irish Coffee Recipe

The Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee Instructions

  1. Fill glass with hot water to preheat, then empty.
  2. Drop in 2 sugar cubes. Pour hot coffee into hot glass until it is about three quarters full.
  3. Stir until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
  4. Add Irish whiskey for proper taste and body. Don’t stir!
  5. Top with a collar of lightly whipped cream by pouring gently over the convex side of a spoon. Enjoy it while piping hot.

In a tall glass, add hot brewed coffee, Baileys, and Irish whiskey, then stir well. Do a quick taste test if you'd like it to be sweeter, add up to 1 tsp light brown sugar, then stir.

If desired, top Irish coffee with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and more brown sugar.

Classic Irish coffee ingredients

I saw this all the time for DIY coffee drinks &ndash this one is super easy to make! You only need a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen.

Coffee &ndash You need a good strong coffee for this drink. You can use any type of coffee that you like, but I would suggest a dark roast. But whatever coffee you have on hand will work just fine.

Sugar &ndash Any type of sugar works well in this recipe. Powdered sugar will dissolve the best but brown sugar will give it a better depth of flavor. Use whatever sugar you prefer.

Whiskey &ndash Here is another fun one &ndash you can use any whiskey that you prefer in this classic Irish coffee.

What is a good Irish whiskey for Irish coffee?

Jameson is an easy whiskey to find and is perfect for this recipe. You can check out other Irish whiskeys here.

What alcohol is in an Irish coffee?

Yes! Classic Irish coffee does have whiskey in it &ndash an alcohol. But if you want to omit whiskey although &ndash do it! This coffee tastes great with or without the alcohol!

Cream &ndash For true Irish coffee you need a good cream to top it off. You can use heavy cream or half and half but I suggest making homemade whipped cream and adding it to the top.

To make this Spanish drink recipe brew up a some dark roasted premium coffee and then mix in some sugar and serve it with heated milk. Warm buttered bread is also traditionally served.

To make an Espresso Con Panna, pull either one or two shots of espresso and top it off with a dollop of whipped cream. Espresso Con Panna is Italian for “Espresso with cream.”

CUBAN COFFEE – See Cafe Cubano. Also see Cuban Coffee - Coffees of Cuba.


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