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Irish Coffee Cocktail Recipe

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An Irish coffee is a rich, creamy, and boozy beverage. It is made with espresso, Irish whisky, brown sugar, and thick Irish cream.

Whether to kickstart the day or dance the night away, this cocktail is a must-try when visiting the Emerald Isle. If you can’t travel there, here’s how to make it at home!

Irish coffee

So What Makes an Irish Coffee “Irish”?

Coffee-based cocktails topped with cream, like the Viennese Cafe Maria Theresia, have been around in Europe since the late 1800s and possibly even before. So, while the combination isn’t an Irish innovation, the cocktail itself has a few defining characteristics that make it an Irish Coffee.

Arguably, the most important is the use of Irish whiskey. Also, a traditional Irish Coffee uses chilled Irish cream and is served in an Irish coffee mug like these ones.

The IBA lists Irish Coffee as a recognized cocktail, stating 50ml Irish whiskey, 120ml hot coffee, 1 tsp sugar, and 50ml fresh cream as its specified ingredients. However, throughout Ireland, and the rest of the world, in fact, you’ll find plenty of different tweaks and takes on this beloved Irish combination.

I am in no way claiming this to be the traditional recipe. This is simply my take on this absolute barnstormer of a beverage. It is so rich, smooth, and creamy, and that Irish whiskey kick really brings the heat!

Ingredients You’ll Need

If you want to wow your friends with your very own Irish Coffee, you’ll need the following:

Ingredients for Irish coffee
  • Coffee – 1/2 cup freshly-brewed coffee
  • Irish Whiskey – 3 tbsp Irish whiskey
  • Sugar – 1-2 tsp sugar
  • Cream – 3 tbsp heavy cream (lightly whipped) or ready-made whipped cream

Note: For sugar, ideally, use demerara or brown, but you can use any sugar.

How To Make It (Step-by-Step)

Step 1 – Lightly whip the cream with a whisk in a small bowl. You just want to give it some body without reaching soft peaks.

Step 2 – Brew the coffee.

Step 3 – Warm up the glass.

Step 4 – Add the sugar and coffee to the glass and stir for the sugar to dissolve.

Step 5 – Add the whisky and stir.

Step 6 – Add the cream carefully on top.

It really is that simple. This is such a rich and easy cocktail to make, and is ideal for dinner parties, the holidays, and St. Patrick’s Day get-togethers.

Let me know in the comments what whiskey you used for your Irish Coffee, and enjoy the smoothness, heat, and creaminess that comes with every sip!

Irish coffee

Recipe Card

Yield: 1

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup freshly-brewed coffee
  • 3 tbsp Irish whiskey
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream (lightly whipped) or ready-made whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Lightly whip the cream with a whisk in a small bowl. You just want to give it some body without reaching soft peaks.
  2. Brew the coffee.
  3. Warm up the heatproof glass.
  4. Add the sugar and coffee to the glass and stir for the sugar to dissolve.
  5. Add the whisky and stir.
  6. Add the lightly whipped cream carefully on top so it doesn't mix with the coffee.

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Want to make this cocktail at home? Save my recipe to one of your drinks or party recipe boards, so that you can easily find it when it’s time to prepare.

Irish coffee

Authors

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

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