Irish Coffee Recipe

Irish Coffee Recipe: How To Make Irish Coffee At Home (2023)

Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by Timothy Byron Smith

Are you a coffee lover who also enjoys a little bit of whiskey every now and then? Then you must try the classic Irish coffee recipe! This delicious beverage is made with freshly brewed coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream, and is perfect for a cozy night in or for entertaining guests.

In this article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to making the perfect Irish coffee, along with tips and tricks to make sure your drink is delicious every time.

But first, let’s dive into the history of Irish coffee and how it became the beloved beverage it is today.

The History of Irish Coffee

Irish coffee has a fascinating history that dates back to the early 20th century. It was first invented by a chef named Joe Sheridan at the Foynes Airbase in Ireland, which was a popular stopover for transatlantic flights. The story goes that Sheridan created the drink in 1942 to warm up a group of American passengers who had just landed at the airbase on a cold winter night. He added some Irish whiskey to their coffee, and topped it with whipped cream to make it extra indulgent. The passengers loved it so much that they asked Sheridan if he had just served them Brazilian coffee. His response? “No, that was Irish coffee.”

The drink became so popular among travelers that it was eventually served at the nearby Shannon Airport, and later at the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, where it was introduced to a wider American audience. Today, Irish coffee is enjoyed all around the world and has become a staple of Irish culture.

Now, let’s get into the ingredients you’ll need to make this classic drink.

Ingredients for Irish Coffee

  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar
  • Heavy cream, lightly whipped

When it comes to selecting the perfect ingredients for your Irish coffee, it’s important to keep in mind that the quality of each ingredient will affect the overall taste of the drink. Choose a freshly brewed coffee with a strong flavor, and make sure your whiskey is Irish. As for the cream, heavy cream is preferred, but you can also use whipped cream from a can if you’re short on time.

Brewing the Coffee

To make a great Irish coffee, start by brewing a strong cup of coffee. The coffee should be hot when you add it to the whiskey, sugar, and cream, so it’s important to time your coffee-making process accordingly. You can use a drip coffee maker, a French press, or any other brewing method you prefer.

If you’re using a drip coffee maker, aim for a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:15, or about 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 oz of water. For a French press, use a coarse grind and steep the coffee for about 4 minutes.

Preparing the Glass

The type of glass you use for your Irish coffee is important, as it can affect the temperature and taste of the drink. Ideally, you’ll want to use a glass with a handle that can hold at least 8 oz of liquid. A clear, heat-resistant glass is ideal so you can see the layers of the drink.

Before pouring in the coffee, warm up the glass by filling it with hot water and letting it sit for a few minutes. This will help prevent the glass from cracking due to the sudden temperature change. Once the glass is warm, pour out the water and wipe the glass dry.

Assembling the Irish Coffee

Now it’s time to put everything together and make your Irish coffee!

  • Add the brown sugar to the bottom of the warmed glass.
  • Pour in the Irish whiskey and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour in the hot coffee, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the glass.
  • Gently spoon the whipped cream over the top of the coffee, creating a layer that covers the entire surface of the drink. Do not stir the cream into the coffee.
  • If desired, you can sprinkle some cinnamon or cocoa powder over the top of the cream for an extra touch of flavor.

Serving and Enjoying

Irish coffee is best enjoyed immediately after it’s made. Serve it with a spoon and encourage your guests to mix the whipped cream into the coffee as they drink. The warmth and richness of the drink make it a perfect choice for cold winter nights, or as a cozy after-dinner treat.

Personalized Tips and Tricks

Here are some personalized tips and tricks to help you make the perfect Irish coffee:

  • If you prefer a stronger drink, you can add more Irish whiskey to your coffee. Just be careful not to add too much, as it can overwhelm the other flavors.
  • To get a perfectly layered drink, pour the cream over the back of a spoon so it floats on top of the coffee. This will help create a distinct layer of cream on top of the drink.
  • If you’re short on time or don’t have heavy cream on hand, you can use whipped cream from a can. Just be sure to shake the can well before using it.
  • Experiment with different types of sugar to see which one you prefer. Some people like to use granulated white sugar instead of brown sugar, while others use honey or maple syrup for a different flavor profile.


1. Can I use any type of whiskey for Irish coffee?
While you can technically use any type of whiskey, it’s best to stick with an Irish whiskey for authenticity and flavor. Irish whiskey is known for its smooth, mellow taste, which pairs perfectly with the other ingredients in Irish coffee.
2. Can I make Irish coffee without the whiskey?
Yes, you can make a non-alcoholic version of Irish coffee by omitting the whiskey and adding in a little bit of vanilla extract for flavor.
3. Can I use regular coffee instead of brewed espresso?
Yes, you can use regular brewed coffee in place of the espresso, but it may result in a slightly different flavor and texture.
4. Can I use a different type of cream for the whipped topping?
Heavy cream is the best choice for the whipped topping, but you can use other types of cream if that’s all you have on hand. Just be aware that the texture and flavor may be slightly different.
5. Can I make Irish coffee ahead of time?
Irish coffee is best enjoyed fresh, but you can prepare the components ahead of time and assemble the drink just before serving. Brew the coffee, whip the cream, and measure out the whiskey and sugar in advance so you can quickly put the drink together when you’re ready to serve.
6. Can I make Irish coffee without sugar?
While sugar is an essential ingredient in Irish coffee, you can use a sugar substitute such as stevia or honey if you prefer. Just be aware that this may alter the flavor of the drink slightly.


Irish coffee is a classic drink that has stood the test of time. With its warm, rich flavor and indulgent whipped cream topping, it’s no wonder why it’s such a beloved beverage. Whether you’re looking to cozy up on a cold night or entertain guests, this recipe is sure to impress.

Just remember to choose high-quality ingredients, time your coffee brewing properly, and layer the ingredients carefully to get the perfect drink. With a little practice, you’ll be making Irish coffee like a pro in no time!

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