How to Make the Best Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner it’s only natural to be thinking of getting together with family and friends to celebrate the Irish. What better way to do that then to mix up a hot Irish coffee! What is Irish coffee? You ask. Well it’s simple really. Take Coffee. Add Whiskey. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy. Okay maybe there is a little more to it than that. You need to get your ratios right otherwise you look like a crazy person just throwing random stuff into a mug. But the trick to this drink is to serve it in a warm glass or mug in order to keep the drink at a steady serving temperature.

First preheat your mug by pouring hot water into the mug. Allow a minute or two for mug to warm then pour out the hot water. Pour in a measure of Irish whiskey add your favorite coffee. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Top with heavy cream. Now sit back relax and enjoy!


2 2/3 oz. (4 parts) Hot coffee

1 1/3 oz. (2 parts) Irish whiskey

1 tsp. Brown sugar

1 oz. (1½ parts) Heavy cream

Ideas for Variations:

  • Bailey’s Irish coffee – Use Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of Irish whiskey. This will make the coffee sweeter so you may want to go for no or less brown sugar.
  • Maple Syrup – Replace the brown sugar with Maple Syrup. The maple flavor pairs beautifully with coffee and whiskey.
  • Add a garnish – Sprinkle the top with finely grated chocolate shavings or a pinch of cinnamon.
  • Decaf Coffee – Choose decaf coffee instead of regular for a wonderful after dinner drink.
  • Demerara sugar – Substitute the brown sugar for Demerara sugar, which has a pleasant toffee flavor.
  • Buena Vista Recipe – This version, named after the Californian restaurant that popularized the Irish Coffee drink here in America, uses two C&H sugar cubes for sweetener.

The original Irish coffee story:

The Irish coffee was created one winter’s night in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, head chef at the restaurant in the Foynes Airbase flying boat terminal located near Limerick Ireland. The airbase was usually just a stop over for longer flights to refuel, but often times due to bad weather passenger would need to stay for the night. One evening, a flight bound for New York had encountered several hours of bad weather so the captain decided to return to Foynes to wait for safer conditions. A Morse code message was sent to the tower to inform them of the return. The staff was called back in and passengers were brought to the restaurant upon landing for food and drink. Chef Sheridan was asked to prepare something to warm the weary passengers. His feelings of empathy for the cold and weary passengers inspired him to put some good Irish whiskey in their coffee. One passenger asked, “Is this Brazilian coffee?” “No,” said Chef Sheridan, “that’s Irish Coffee.” The Irish coffee became a huge success and continues to this day to be served as a specialty drink at Foynes Irish Coffee Lounge.

Prefer your whiskey straight up? Americaware has an awesome line of Whiskey Glasses specially designed to ensure that the spirit of choice goes down smoothly.