You don’t need to be Irish to enjoy this Irish Coffee! A traditional after-dinner drink, this strong cocktail keeps the party going with hot coffee, a bit of sugar, whiskey, and an Irish Cream topping that’s even delicious by itself!
I don’t know who invented the Irish Coffee, but they’re gonna have new fans today.
Let’s answer a few questions:
Do you love coffee? Does it run through your veins as freely as your blood?
Do you enjoy the finer sips of whiskey after a long day?
Do you ever wish you could spike your morning coffee with your evening whiskey and just streamline your day?
If you answer HELL YEAH to any of those questions, then this drink is totally for you!
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
This road to loving whiskey that I’m on has been an interesting one.
I’ve really been enjoying tasting as many different types of whiskey, scotch, and bourbon that I can find. Currently, I’m on a Woodford Reserve kick.
Which explains that bottle’s prevalence in these photos.
To you Irish coffee purists: I am so, so sorry.
Yes, I know it’s not Irish whiskey. But I was out of Jameson, and Abe wouldn’t let me open any of the limited edition Game of Thrones whiskey bottles I just bought him.
(Nope, not even the common Johnnie Walker one.)
For what it’s worth…it was still really delicious.
What Is Irish Coffee?
Traditional Irish coffee is a warm cocktail made up of hot strong coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey, and sometimes Irish cream is added. The contents are stirred together until the sugar dissolves, and it is then topped with lightly whipped cream.
The coffee is sipped right through the cream, giving it a rich feel and flavor.
Variations Of Irish Coffee
I am definitely game to try any and all of these drink recipes, but my next experiment is gonna involve a frothy Guinness! Some fun creamy coffee drinks to try:
- Chocolate Irish Coffee: Includes chocolate syrup in the coffee blend, as well as in the whipped cream.
- Maple Irish Coffee: Uses pure maple syrup as the sweetener instead of brown or white sugar.
- Buena Vista Irish Coffee: Uses sugar cubes instead of brown sugar. Topped with lightly whipped cream.
- Irish Cream Coffee: Substitutes half of the whiskey with Irish cream for a balanced, not-as-strongly flavored drink. Often topped with a Maraschino cherry for fun.
- Bailey’s Irish Coffee: Replaces the whiskey with pure Bailey’s Irish cream, suitable for those with sweeter palates.
Of course, if you’re not into booze in your coffee, you can just try this tasty Pistachio Latte instead!
Irish Coffee ingredients
- Hot coffee – your favorite flavor, but strong and black is classic.
- Brown sugar – or sugar cubes if you’re fancy. Can substitute with simple syrup if you don’t have any sugar on hand.
- Irish Whiskey – or regular whiskey. Or bourbon if you prefer. Either way, just pick the good stuff.
- Heavy cream – to create that heavenly foam on top. Some people use cool whip if they don’t have heavy cream or whipped cream on hand
- Irish cream – This is totally optional, but some people need creamer in their coffee (that isn’t pumpkin flavored), and it actually adds a nice smooth flavor to the drink. You can also whip a bit of this to your heavy cream before whipping it for just a bit of Irish cream flavor. Some people even put a dash of bailey Irish cream in theirs!
How To Make Irish Coffee
To make this delicious Irish coffee cocktail recipe, first, pour some warm water into a coffee mug while you brew your coffee. This preps the mug for the hot coffee you’re about to add, and the warmth helps the sugar dissolve.
Whip the heavy cream (and some Irish cream if you want) with a whisk or hand mixer until it begins to thicken, but just before it starts to form soft peaks. This consistency is the easiest to pour into the drink. Set it aside.
Next, add the brown sugar to the mug and leave a spoon inside of it. Pour in the coffee and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Then, add the whiskey. Just pour it on in there and stir it up a bit. At this point, you can also stir in some Irish cream if you like creamy coffee. (I do, but the original combo looks so pretty in these photos!)
Next, take that warm spoon and carefully pour the cream over the back of it, so that it floats on the top of the drink.
Finally, garnish the Irish Coffee with some chocolate sprinkles, ground cinnamon, or a cinnamon stick. Sip it through the foam on the top and enjoy!
LOOKING FOR MORE IRISH RECIPES?
- Black Velvet
- Homemade Irish Cream
- Irish Cream Creme Brulee
- Irish Cream Coffee Mud Pie
- Irish Cream Coffee Truffles
- The Grasshopper
- Small Batch Irish Coffee Cupcakes
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING IRISH COFFEE:
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Irish Coffee Cocktail
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ¾ cup strong hot coffee or espresso
- 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey (1.5 oz)
- 1 tablespoon Irish cream optional
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream lightly whipped
- Chocolate flakes or ground nutmeg, for garnish
- Fill and Irish coffee glass or mug with hot water and allow to warm for 2-3 minutes, then discard the water. Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream until it begins to thicken to soft peaks.
- Add the brown sugar to the empty glass or mug. Pour in the coffee until the mug is ¾ full, stirring until dissolved.
- Add the whiskey and stir well to incorporate. Stir in Irish cream now, if using.
- Pour the lightly whipped cream over the back of a warmed spoon so it floats on top of the drink. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles or a bit of nutmeg, if desired.