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Best Irish Coffee Recipe

It doesn’t really matter what the occasion is. You can always start your evening festivities with a mug of delectable Irish coffee!

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

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Glass of Irish Coffee with Whipped Cream

This coffee cocktail is ideal for coffee lovers and dessert fanatics alike.

It’s cozy, warm, and the perfect way to cap off a dinner party. It’s also a wonderful addition to winter brunch.

So, let’s transform regular coffee into a party-worthy Irish coffee cocktail!

Irish Coffee Cocktail Recipe

Irish coffee is one of the most popular coffee-based hot cocktails around – and for good reason.

It’s comforting, which makes it a great choice for a relaxing nightcap. Plus, it’s not too strong, so it’ll warm your belly without getting you too drunk.

Traditional Irish coffee only contains sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey, and cream. Many pubs and restaurants feature a creamier and sweeter version, though.

And that’s what you can expect from this recipe.

With this Irish coffee, you’ll add Baileys for a wonderful blend of sweet and creamy spiked coffee. 

Why Is It Called Irish Coffee?

There are several theories surrounding Irish coffee’s name. Here’s the most convincing one:

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

His name was Joe Sheridan, and he just wanted to give it a little extra oomph. When asked if it was Brazilian coffee, he replied that it was “Irish coffee.”

Thus, a legend was born.

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The cocktail later became popular in the USA in 1952 when a review of it appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cozy and Warming Irish Coffee


  • Irish cream liqueur. Not all Irish coffee recipes include this ingredient. However, it makes the drink sweeter, creamier, and richer.
  • Irish whiskey. I’m partial to Jameson, but any brand will do.
  • Freshly brewed coffee. Medium to dark roast works best.
  • Whipped cream and ground nutmeg. Purely for decadence’s sake!

How Do You Make Irish Coffee? 

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

1. Preheat a coffee mug. Select one large enough to hold eight ounces of coffee plus the other ingredients.

Then, place a metal spoon inside it so the hot water doesn’t crack it. Finally, pour hot water into the mug, and let it sit about 5 minutes before discarding it.

2. Add the Irish cream and whiskey. Give them a quick stir.

3. Pour the coffee over the spoon. Don’t stir after adding the coffee. If you do, you won’t get the distinct layers.

4. Add the toppings. Gently pour the cream over the back of a spoon so it’ll float on top. Then, sprinkle it with a dash of nutmeg, and enjoy!

Do You Stir Irish Coffee? 

You can stir the whiskey and Irish cream together. But don’t stir it after adding the coffee.

Part of the experience of drinking Irish coffee is to enjoy the contrast between 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 

  • Pick an appropriate mug. Remember, you’ll add eight ounces of coffee and 1.5 ounces each of Irish cream and Irish whiskey. Therefore, a 12-ounce mug is perfect. One with a handle is best, since this is a hot beverage.
  • Preheat the mug with hot water. This will ensure the cocktail stays warm for longer. It also helps the flavors blend better.
  • Use high-quality coffee. Though it’s a cocktail, it’s still a coffee-based cocktail. It will taste like coffee, so use coffee that you actually enjoy.
  • Use freshly whipped cream. Avoid Cool Whip; it won’t work for this recipe. You can make your own cream by whipping heavy cream until it’s frothy.

Irish Coffee Variations

  • Make it the traditional way. Simply leave out the Irish cream and sweeten the drink with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. You can also make a Buena Vista Irish Coffee by keeping the Irish cream and adding the sugar, too.
  • Make it decaf. Just switch out the coffee.
  • Double down on the Baileys. If you have a major sweet tooth, skip the whiskey entirely. Add two portions of Irish cream liqueur instead.
  • Tweak the garnishes. Whipped topping and nutmeg are great, but they aren’t your only options. Try chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, caramel sauce, etc.

Also, be sure to serve it with fun Irish potato candy for a real treat!

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Irish Coffee



Prep time





Wind down with a delicious Irish coffee this evening! Made with sweetened coffee, Irish cream, whiskey, and whipped cream, it’s a treat you’ll crave.


  • 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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