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How to Make An Original Irish Coffee

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How to Make An Original Irish Coffee

Authentic Irish Coffee Recipe

For this video and post, we teamed up with our friends Chris and Julia Tunstall from If you’re into mixology, or just want to make killer cocktails at home, then we suggest you check them out. Here’s the recipe from their site.

If there’s one cup of coffee that packs a sweet flavor and a lot of spunk, it’s Irish coffee. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel all the way to Ireland to take a sip of this savory drink. We’ve laid out the recipe in this article below for you to make and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. 

Introduction to Irish Coffee

This drink packs not only a warm and savory flavor but a strong tradition too.

The original Irish coffee was invented one cold winter’s night in 1943 by a chef named Joe Sheridan. Working at Foynes Airbase Port in Limerick County in Ireland, the creation of Irish coffee came about while Sheridan was tending to transatlantic passengers passing through Foynes Port. 

The story goes that on this night, there was an air flight that was leaving Foynes Port that had to return after it had already traveled halfway to its destination. Several passengers on this flight, who were understandably tired and cranky from the delay, happened upon Sheridan’s cafe. 

Taking pity on the weary travelers, Sheridan decided to whip up a special coffee drink, and impulsively added a dash of Irish whiskey to it. The drink received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. Upon being asked by an American customer if the drink served was “Brazillian coffee,” Sheridan proudly answered that it was actually “Irish coffee.” Thus, Irish coffee was born.

Rise of Irish Coffee

After it became a regular drink that Sheridan served at Foynes Port, it eventually grew in popularity and became a specialty drink in the airport itself. After World War II, the drink continued to grow in popularity, making its way to the United States in the early 1950s. 

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The drink was introduced to the United States by Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. After enjoying an Irish coffee while at Foynes Port, he attempted to recreate the drink himself by collaborating with Buena Vista Cafe in San Fransisco. Sheridan was soon after invited to relocate to Buena Vista Cafe to recreate and serve the drink there.

Since then, different variations on the concept have proliferated across the globe. In this article, we’ll be basing the recipe off of the classic, traditional version. 

Variations of Irish Coffee

Over time, there have been different variations of this famous drink. The classic recipe is always considered a favorite, but switching up the recipe and adding a twist here and there can be fun too. Here are some of our favorite Irish coffee twists:

The Classic

The traditional version of Irish coffee is made with white sugar cubes, black coffee, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream. Its meant to be sweet, robust, and thick and creamy, giving you a warm feeling all over with each savory sip. For this article, we’ve given instructions on how to make this classic recipe. 

Different Sweeteners

If brown sugar isn’t your vibe, there are many other options to sweeten up your Irish coffee. Some common sweeteners include white sugar, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, or even honey.

Serve it Over Ice

Not a fan of hot coffee? Try it cold instead! Iced Irish coffee can be made by adding a splash of Irish whiskey over ice, pouring in cold brew coffee, adding half & half, and topping it with whipped cream.  

Garnish It

Want to add some pizazz? After adding your whipped cream to your coffee, you can garnish the whipped cream with a variety of things. Some delicious options are chocolate flakes, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, or even ice cream. 

Bailey’s Irish Cream

If you’re looking to get REAL sassy, you can always substitute the whiskey (or leave it) by adding Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of milk or half & half. Begin by brewing your coffee like normal, pouring in your Bailey’s, and adding whipped cream on top if desired. This method also works with cold coffee too. 

Pour-Over Irish Coffee

Another delicious method of making Irish coffee is the pour-over method. To do this, begin by adding whiskey to your water to boil, and then pour it over your coffee grounds to brew. This better infuses the whiskey flavor with the brewed coffee, making for a deliciously spiked cup of coffee. You can still add lightly whipped cream on top if you wish. 

Without Cream?

If you don’t want to add cream to your Irish coffee, you don’t have to. Though whiskey and coffee combined are really only considered just whiskey and coffee, you can still enjoy it without cream if it better suits your tastes. 

How to Make a Classic Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee
@roastycoffee Pro tip: drink this in the morning if you’re hungover #irishcoffee #coffeetoktok ♬ Darling – Trees and Lucy

Before we make our cup of Irish joe, we need to gather our ingredients and review the necessary steps to make this delicious drink. 

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 oz. San Francisco Irish Coffee Glass or Irish Coffee Mug
  • 4 oz Freshly Brewed Coffee
  • 2 Cubes Sugar
  • 1 ½ oz Good Irish Whiskey (We recommend Teeling or Tullamore Dew)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Whipped Cream

Traditional Irish Coffee Serving Glass

Nowadays, there’s actually a serving glass called an “Irish Coffee Mug,” which most bars use for the brew. For the historical experience, though, we use the 6 oz San Francisco Irish Coffee Glass, made famous by the Chronicle for its longtime use and association with the iconic Old Town area of San Francisco.

Step 1: Pre-heat the Serving Glass

Pour some hot water into the glass for 10-15 seconds to pre-heat. Once the glass has warmed up, pour it out.

Step 2: Add Sugar Cubes and Fresh Coffee

adding brown sugar and fresh coffee

Add two sugar cubes to the glass. For the extra mile in historical authenticity, you can use brown sugar, but the cubes are easier to measure.

Next, add 4 ounces of freshly brewed coffee until the glass is about 2/3 of the way full. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Recommendation: Use a French Press to brew your coffee; it will create a nice, full-bodied cup that can really stand up to the whiskey. We also suggest using a light to medium roast.

Step 3: Add Irish Whiskey and Whipped Cream

adding Irish whiskey and whipped cream

Add 1 1/2 oz of your favorite Irish whiskey. Be sure to use real Irish whiskey, not just any old brown alcohol. Chris recommends Teeling Irish Whiskey. Produced in Dublin and finished in rum casks, it’s an authentic and exceptional whiskey that blends beautifully with coffee.

Once the whiskey is in, top the whole thing with (preferably homemade) whipped cream. Speaking of which…

How to Make Whipped Cream at Home

To make your own whipped cream, buy heavy or whipping cream. With a little elbow grease and a whisk, whip it until it incorporates enough air to become light and fluffy.

You can also check out this awesome whipped cream hack from Plated:

For garnish, you can sprinkle the cream with nutmeg or chocolate.

Wrapping Up

Irish coffee is a classic drink that every coffee lover should try at least once. Not only do you get to enjoy a delicious, sweet, creamy cup of coffee, but you also enjoy a beloved drink that’s been enjoyed by many others for a long time. Whether you drink it the traditional style or switch it up, there’s a version of Irish coffee that almost everyone can enjoy. 

Happy caffeinating!

How to Make An Original Irish Coffee

How to Make An Original Irish Coffee

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Irish Coffee isn't your average cup of joe. Not only is it a spunky coffee beverage that is loved by coffee consumers around the world, but it's sweet in flavor and also has a nice spike of whiskey. The great news is that you don't have to travel to Ireland to try this savory drink--you can make it in the comfort of your own kitchen!


  • 6 oz. San Francisco Irish Coffee Glass or Irish Coffee Mug
  • 4 oz freshly brewed coffee
  • 2 cubes of sugar
  • 1 ½ oz Good Irish Whiskey (We recommend Teeling or Tullamore Dew)
  • 2-3 tbsp whipped cream


  1. Preheat your Irish Coffee Glass with hot water.
  2. Brew 4 ounces of drip coffee.
  3. Place 2 sugar cubes into Irish Coffee Glass.
  4. Pour in 4 oz freshly brewed coffee.
  5. Add 1.5 oz whiskey.
  6. Finally, add your whipped cream as a garnish. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 240Total Fat: 10g
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