An Invigorating Classic Irish Coffee Recipe

Published November 5, 2021
irish coffee recipe


  • 1½ ounces Irish whiskey
  • ¾ ounce Irish cream
  • Hot coffee, to top off
  • Whipped cream and three whole coffee beans for garnish


  1. Warm a mug by filling with hot water.
  2. After mug is warm to touch, pour out the water.
  3. In mug, add Irish whiskey and Irish cream.
  4. Top off with hot coffee.<
  5. Garnish with whipped cream and coffee beans.

Variations and Substitutions

The Irish coffee can be toyed and tweaked with to develop the best coffee for you or the ones you're making it for. There are plenty of variations and swaps available.

  • Use flavored Irish cream, such as salted caramel or vanilla cinnamon.
  • Consider a caramel, toffee, or walnut whiskey to add extra flavor.
  • Cocktail bitters can also add layers of flavor without any added sweetness. Consider flavored bitters such as cinnamon, walnut, cherry, chocolate, or toasted almond.
  • For more of a bite, try rye whiskey, but for something sweeter, use bourbon.
  • Add a splash of caramel, vanilla, or cinnamon schnapps to add extra flavor with a touch of sweetness.


If whipped cream is too much or you don't have whole coffee beans on hand to utilize as a garnish, you have plenty of options. Do try to use three coffee beans if you can, as they represent health, wealth, and happiness. Although try not to skip the garnish altogether.

  • Swirl caramel or chocolate syrup down the sides of the mug.
  • Alternatives to coffee beans include chocolate shavings, sprinkles of any kind, and ground nutmeg or cinnamon.
  • In a cocktail shaker, add ice and hot coffee. Shake vigorously for approximately 3-4 minutes until a foam has formed. Use this coffee foam in place of whipped cream.
  • To mimic Irish coffees of long ago, pour heavy cream on the back of a spoon to create a float atop the coffee.

About the Irish Coffee

The Irish coffee as you know it isn't what it was when it first crept into coffee mugs over 100 years ago. In fact, they were first known found in Germany and Denmark! Even France had a version of a hot coffee cocktail as early as the 1800s. What's important is that the Irish have been credited with the modern invention of today's Irish coffee.

Relying on the caffeine to fast forward to the 1950s, you'll find today's version of Irish coffee. In true cocktail lore, no one can agree about much. Some say it was a chef of a coffee shop who was slipping whiskey into customers' coffees, while a journalist claims he is responsible for bringing it stateside after enjoying one at an airport in Ireland. At least everyone can agree that it's a drink worth enjoying.

May the Coffee Rise to Meet You

An Irish coffee isn't a drink to scoff at; it'll turn your day around or get it going in an instant. Whether you take your first boozy sip at brunch or rounding out your dinner with this cocktail, it's a drink for the ages.

An Invigorating Classic Irish Coffee Recipe