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Irish Coffee recipe

Traditional Irish Coffee recipe

Here you’ll find details on how to make a traditional Irish coffee recipe, along with many variations and helpful information on choosing the proper Irish whiskey.

Irish Coffee is a warm and rich drink made with Irish whiskey, freshly brewed hot coffee, sugar and topped with lightly whipped cream. Originating in Ireland, this delicious beverage gained popularity in the 1940s when it was served at an airport restaurant near Shannon Airport.

The history of Irish coffee dates back to the 1940s, when Joe Sheridan, a chef at an airport in Ireland, created this warming beverage for travelers. He mixed whiskey, coffee, and cream together and topped it off with some sugar. Sheridan’s recipe quickly became popular among the locals, who dubbed it “Irish Coffee.”

To make this traditional Irish coffee recipe, you’ll need freshly brewed hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and lightly whipped cream.


  • Pour two ounces of Irish whiskey into an 8-ounce mug or glass.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Fill the mug with freshly brewed hot coffee and stir again to combine all ingredients.
  • Top the coffee with lightly whipped cream.
  • Enjoy your delicious Irish coffee!

This drink is best enjoyed hot. It can be served as a nightcap or an after-dinner treat. The unique combination of flavors makes it a great way to end any meal. Whether you’re enjoying a traditional Irish coffee or adding your own twist with flavored syrups, this drink is sure to please.

Traditional Irish Coffee recipe

Choosing the right type of Irish whisky

  • Single malt Irish whisky is a type of whiskey made from a single mash and distilled by a single distillery. It is created with only malted barley, water and yeast and is typically aged in oak casks for at least three years. Single malt Irish whiskey typically has a smooth, sweet flavor that is quite different from other whiskey styles, such as Scotch or American whiskey.
  • Single pot still whisky is a special type of Irish whiskey made with a mash containing malted and unmalted barley, creating a unique flavor profile. It is distilled in copper pot stills and aged for a minimum of three years, usually in oak barrels. Single pot still whiskeys have a rich, full-bodied flavor with notes of spice, malt and toasted nuts.
  • Single grain Irish whisky is made from a single grain, usually wheat or corn, and distilled in copper pot stills. It has a milder flavor than single malt or single pot still whiskey and is often aged for a shorter amount of time. It has a smooth, light sweetness that makes it a great choice for mixed drinks and cocktails.
  • Blended Irish whisky is made from a combination of grain whiskey and single malt or pot still whiskeys. It is usually aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels, resulting in a smooth, mellow flavor. Blended Irish whiskey is an excellent choice for those looking for a softer, more approachable taste.

Irish coffee recipe

Best whiskey to use for this Irish coffee recipe

When choosing an Irish whisky for your Irish coffee recipe, it is important to consider both the flavor and the strength of the whisky. For a more delicate flavor, choose a lighter whisky such as elixir or yellow spot. If you prefer a more robust flavor, go for a heavier whisky such as redbreast or pot still. As for the strength of the whisky, Irish coffee is traditionally made with Irish whiskey that has been diluted with water. However, if you want a stronger drink, feel free to use undiluted whisky. No matter what ingredients you choose, Irish coffee is sure to be a delicious and warming treat.

Choosing the right brand of Irish whisky

  • Jameson Irish Whisky – This classic brand has a bold flavor profile that pairs particularly well with coffee and cream. With hints of vanilla, toasted wood and a smooth finish, Jameson is an essential part of any well-stocked bar. For the true enthusiast, there are also reserve expressions from their Distillery Edition series that offer even more complex flavor profiles.
  • Kilbeggan Irish Whisky – Kilbeggan has been crafting whiskey since 1757, making it one of the oldest distilleries in Ireland and the world. Their range includes unique expressions such as their 8-year-old single pot still whiskey, as well as more traditional blends. With a sweet and spicy palate of toasted oak, citrus and caramelized sugar, Kilbeggan is an excellent choice for those looking for something different from the standard Irish whiskey lineup.
  • Bushmills Irish Whisky – Bushmills has been making whiskey since 1608 and lays claim to the title of “world’s oldest whiskey distillery.” Their range includes single malts, blends and even a ginger liqueure. The classic Bushmills Original blend has notes of vanilla, honey and spice that make it an ideal choice for cocktails.
  • Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky – Tullamore Dew has been crafting whiskey since 1829 and is one of the most popular Irish whiskey brands in the world. Their range includes triple distilled single malt and triple distilled blended expressions, as well as an aged reserve expression and a special edition single pot still whiskey. With flavors of toffee, honey and spice, Tullamore Dew is an excellent choice for those looking for something a bit more complex than the traditional Irish whiskey.
  • Redbreast Irish Whisky – Redbreast is one of the most popular brands of Irish whiskey and has been making expressions since 1903. Their range includes single pot still, pure pot still and cask strength whiskeys that are all aged for a minimum of 12 years. With flavors of toffee, spice, citrus and oak, Redbreast is an excellent choice for those looking for a complex and flavorful whiskey.
  • Powers Irish Whisky – Powers has been crafting whiskey since 1791, making them one of the oldest distilleries in Ireland. Their range includes both single pot still and blended expressions that are all bottled at 40% ABV, making them an ideal choice for cocktails. The classic Powers Gold Label has notes of fruit, nutmeg and spices that make it a great choice for sipping neat or in a cocktail.
The traditional recipe calls for Irish whiskey, brown sugar, and heavy cream. However, there are many variations on this classic drink. For example, some recipes call for Irish cream instead of whiskey. Regardless of the ingredients, Irish coffee is a rich and flavorful way to enjoy the taste of coffee.
Irish coffee recipe

Traditional Irish Coffee Recipe – Variations

  • Spiced Irish Coffee – Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice to the coffee before topping with cream.
  • Peppermint Irish Coffee – Stir in 2 teaspoons of peppermint syrup before adding the cream.
  • Maple Irish Coffee – Substitute maple syrup for the sugar and stir in 1 teaspoon before adding the cream.
  • Caramel Irish Coffee – Stir in 2 teaspoons of caramel syrup before topping with cream.
  • Chocolate Irish Coffee – Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to the coffee and top with lightly whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
  • Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee – Combine 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice syrup, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg before topping with cream.
  • Vanilla Irish Coffee – Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract before adding the cream for a smooth and sweet flavor.
  • Espresso Irish Coffee – Use two shots of espresso instead of regular coffee for a jolt of energy.
  • Hazelnut Irish Coffee – Substitute hazelnut syrup for the sugar and stir in 1 teaspoon before topping with cream.
  • Mint Irish Coffee – Add 2 teaspoons of peppermint syrup to the coffee and top with lightly whipped cream, a sprinkle of cocoa powder and a candy cane.


Garnish your Irish Coffee
To give your Irish coffee a more festive look, consider garnishing the drink with a few simple touches. Try adding a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top of the cream for added flavor and presentation. You can also use a candy cane as a stirrer, or add a mint sprig for extra decoration. These subtle touches can really bring out the flavors in your Irish coffee and make it even more enjoyable to drink.

This Irish coffee recipe is a classic, timeless drink that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you want an energizing pick-me-up or a cozy nightcap, this tasty mix of whiskey and coffee is sure to hit the spot. Don’t forget to experiment with different flavors and garnishes to make your Irish coffee even more special. Enjoy responsibly!

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