If you’re looking for the best Irish coffee recipe (without the BS that comes with certain food blogs), you’ve landed in the right spot.
And, if you don’t know how to make Irish coffee, don’t worry – it’s easy, and you only need a handful of ingredients.
Below, you’ll find a ridiculously easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to follow. Enjoy!
Some quick need-to-knows before you make an Irish coffee
Before you look at how to make an Irish coffee, it’s worth taking 20 seconds to read the points below. They’ll make your life easier and your coffee tastier:
1. Pick a good Irish whiskey
There’s endless Irish whiskey brands on the market today. We’re using Paddy in this recipe, but you can use whatever you have on hand (avoid peated whiskeys for this one).
2. Pick a suitable glass
You’ll also want a suitable glass, ideally one with a handle. If you don’t have one like this, use a regular glass and a napkin to avoid burning your hand.
3. No shaker?! No problem!
You can use a protein shaker to whip the cream, it works easier and creates less of a mess, you can also feel how thick the cream is getting as you shake. You’ll also want a spoon to use for pouring the cream down into your Irish coffee.
Ingredients you’ll need for this Irish coffee recipe
Irish coffee ingredients tend to vary guide-to-guide, which is fine, as people tend to use what they have on hand in their cupboard.
The ingredients below are what we recommend using for this Irish coffee recipe (we’ve tried this many times, so we can vouch for it!):
- A good Irish Whiskey (e.g. Paddy)
- Good ground coffee
- Demerara Sugar
- Fresh Cream
- Nutmeg & Dark Chocolate (optional garnish at the end)
How to make Irish coffee
Some food blogs have overcomplicated guides on how to make Irish coffee, but it’s really very simply, once you follow the steps below:
- Step 1: Assemble your ingredients and brew up a pot of coffee
- Step 2: Add 35.5ml of Irish Whiskey to your glass
- Step 3: Add a freshly brewed coffee and then a teaspoon of brown sugar
- Step 4: Add cream and garnish with shavings of chocolate
Step 1: Assemble your ingredients and brew up a pot of coffee
Once you’ve assembled the Irish coffee ingredients listed above, it’s time to get things rolling. Boil a kettle and brew up your freshly ground coffee.
While the coffee is brewing away, stick a spoon in your glass (this will take some of the heat out of the glass to stop it cracking). Pour in your hot water and leave it for 20 seconds or so, until the glass is hot.
Step 2: Add 35.5ml of Irish Whiskey to your glass
So, although we’re using Paddy in ours, if you don’t have it on hand you can use any of the various Irish whiskey brands (although avoid any peated whiskeys).
Empty the hot water from your glass (the glass will be nice and hot now) and pour 35.5ml of whiskey into your glass.
Step 3: Add a freshly brewed coffee and then a teaspoon of brown sugar
Next, add the coffee to the whiskey and give it a light stir to blend the mixture together. Then add a teaspoon of Demerara Sugar to the glass and stir until it’s dissolved.
If you don’t have Demerara Sugar, you can add brown sugar to taste.
Step 4: Add cream and garnish with shavings of chocolate
Next up is the garnishing. It’s at this point in many guides on how to make Irish coffee that people mess up, so proceed with caution.
You need to lightly whip the cream so that it can still flow – you want to be able to drink your coffee through the cream so that you can enjoy the balance of the flavours.
Avoid hard whipped cream and canned cream – you need to freshly whip it (see above tip about using a protein shaker).
Pour your cream slowly along the back of a warm spoon and you’ll find that it sits nicely on top. You can, if you like, add some shaved nutmeg and dark chocolate.
How the Irish coffee recipe was invented
Now that you know how to make Irish coffee, I’m going to tell you the story behind where the original Irish coffee recipe comes from, and it’s an interesting one.
The story of the Irish coffee all began in 1943 in County Limerick, when the Foynes Airbase launched a brand-new 1st-class restaurant.
The gateway to the USA
Now, Foynes had a lot going for it – it was the gateway to the USA for all European transatlantic flights.
They hired a talented chef by the name of Joe Sheridan to run the restaurant, and he proved to be a roaring success.
One stormy night
It was during a particularly cold winter in 1943 when a flight left Foynes for New York. However, several hours into the flight, severe weather conditions forced the flight to return to Ireland.
Joe Sheridan was called and asked to knock-up some hot food and drinks for the terrified passengers for when they arrived back.
The invention of Irish coffee
Joe brewed up some strong coffee and decided to add some whiskey to it to help warm up those arriving back into Foynes. He added sugar to help ease the shock and then some whipped cream to make the concoction more palatable.
The Irish coffee recipe went down a charm and it’s been tantalising tastebuds across the world ever since.
FAQs about how to make Irish coffee
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What’s the best classic Irish coffee recipe?’ to ‘Which is the easiest to make?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What is the tastiest Irish coffee recipe?
I’m fond of the one above, and I find myself going back to it each winter, as it’s easy-to-follow and requires very few ingredients.
What’s in an Irish coffee?
Irish coffee ingredients are simple: you need Irish whiskey, Demerara Sugar (although brown sugar is OK, too), fresh cream, coffee, nutmeg and dark chocolate.
Does Irish coffee make you drunk?
If you look at our Irish coffee recipe above, you’ll see that you only use 35.5ml, which isn’t likely (although not guaranteed) to make you drunk.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.