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Irish Coffee

Start your evening festivities with a glass of delectable Irish coffee! While the recipe is very meticulous, it’s easier than you think.

This cocktail will not only be enjoyed by coffee aficionados but any dessert lover as well.

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The blend of sweetened coffee, Irish cream, whiskey, and whipped cream creates a perfect harmony of flavors. 

Glass of Irish Coffee with Whipped Cream

It’s cozy and warm, and it’s the perfect way to kick off your evening shenanigans.

Transform regular coffee into a party-worthy cocktail with this easy-peasy Irish coffee recipe. Let’s get brewing.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee is one of the most popular coffee-based cocktails, and for good reason.

It’s comforting, which makes it a great beverage idea for a relaxing nightcap.

While traditional Irish coffee only contains sweetened brewed coffee, Irish whiskey, and cream, most pubs and restaurants will give you a creamier and sweeter version, which is what you can expect from this recipe.

In this version of Irish coffee, you’ll throw in Irish cream liqueur to the mix, creating a wonderful blend of sweet and creamy spiked coffee. 

The balance of flavors is spot on. Unlike other cocktails that are overly sweet, the Irish coffee has just the right combination to tickle your tastebuds.

Why Is It Called Irish Coffee?

There are several theories surrounding its name, but here’s the most convincing one:

In the early 1940s, Joe Sheridan, the head chef of the restaurant at the Foynes Flying Boat terminal in Ireland, added a splash of booze to coffee to give it extra oomph.

When asked if it was Brazilian coffee, he replied that it was “Irish coffee.”

The cocktail was then popularized in the USA in 1952 by columnist Stanton Delaplane, who recreated the drink along with Jack Koeppler, the owner of the Buena Vista Cafe. 

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Delaplane then featured the recreated concoction in his column at the San Francisco Chronicle, gaining huge popularity.

Cozy and Warming Irish Coffee

How Do You Make Irish Coffee? 

There’s a very specific way to do it properly, but don’t worry, it’s super easy.

Start by preheating a coffee mug – preferably a small, clear one that can fit up to 8 ounces of liquid.

Any larger than that and you might get the proportions all wrong.

Pour hot water into the mug. Place a metal spoon inside to prevent the mug from cracking.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then discard the hot water.

Pour the Irish cream and whiskey into the coffee mug, followed by freshly brewed coffee. Medium to dark roast works best for this cocktail.

Do not stir the ingredients, otherwise, you won’t get distinct layers of Irish cream and coffee. 

Place the tip of an inverted spoon inside the mug, right on top of the coffee.

Very carefully pour the cream over the back of the spoon to prevent the cream from sinking. 

Sprinkle it with a dash of nutmeg. Enjoy Irish coffee while it’s hot.

Do You Stir Irish Coffee? 

You don’t. Part of the experience of drinking Irish coffee is to enjoy the contrast between the hot coffee and cool cream.

If you stir the cocktail, that hot and cold contrast disappears.

Instead, leave it untouched and sip the coffee through the cream.

Homemade Irish Coffee with Whipped Cream

Tips for Making The Best Drink 

  • Use a small glass to make a beautiful layered cocktail. Be sure it has a handle, as this is a hot beverage.

You can use either a tall but thin glass or one that’s short and stout, as long as it doesn’t go beyond 8 ounces.

This way, you’ll eliminate the possibility of messing up the proportions.

While it’s tempting to double the recipe to make a larger volume of Irish coffee, don’t.

It’s meant to be consumed in small amounts so that it stays nice and hot throughout. 

  • Preheat the glass with hot water, so the cocktail stays warm longer. It also helps the flavors to blend better.
  • Coffee is a key element in the drink, so naturally, you’ll want it to be of excellent quality. Use strong, freshly brewed coffee whose taste you actually like. Using stale coffee will result in a burnt taste.
  • Whiskey is as essential as coffee, so good quality is also a must. Jameson, Bushmills, and Slane are excellent brands, but any whiskey you enjoy drinking neat is also okay.
  • Use freshly whipped cream. Stay away from Cool Whip for this recipe, or it’ll ruin the taste of the cocktail.

Stick to heavy cream for maximum flavor, and whip it just until it’s thick and frothy.

Stop beating when the bubbles disappear and don’t let it reach stiff peaks. You’ll want the cream to still be pourable.

  • Gently pour the whipped cream onto the cocktail to prevent it from sinking. Done the right way, the cream should float on top of the drink.

Besides the pretty black-and-white presentation, the cold cream also tempers the hot alcohol.

This creates a lovely contrast of temperatures and makes the hot cocktail easier to drink.

This will take a bit of practice, but you’ve got this. 

Place the tip of an inverted spoon inside the glass, right on top of the coffee. Very carefully pour the cream over the back of the spoon. 

This will make the cream land gently on top of the coffee, ensuring that it doesn’t sink into the bottom.

  • Irish Coffee Variations
    • Original: skip the Irish cream liqueur and sweeten the drink with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.
    • Bailey’s Irish Coffee: skip the whiskey and add two portions of Irish cream liqueur instead. This one’s perfect for sweet tooths.
    • Buena Vista Irish Coffee: sweeten the coffee with two teaspoons of sugar.
    • Garnish – ground cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate shavings, cocoa powder – whatever works.
    • Use decaf coffee – for an evening wind down. 
    • Make it cold – use cold brew coffee and fill the cup with ice.

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Irish Coffee



Prep time






  • 1 1 (1.5-ounce) jigger Irish cream liqueur

  • 1 1 (1.5-ounce) jigger Irish whiskey

  • 1 cup 1 freshly brewed coffee

  • 1 tablespoon 1 whipped cream

  • 1 dash 1 ground nutmeg


  • Preheat an 8-ounce coffee mug with hot water. Throw out the hot water after 5 minutes.
  • Pour the Irish cream and whiskey into a coffee mug. Fill it with brewed coffee, leaving 1-2 inches of space on top for the cream.
  • Gently pour the whipped cream and add a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy!
Irish Coffee

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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