This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

Here’s how to make the best Irish coffee recipe! Just a few ingredients make this classic whiskey and coffee drink.

Irish coffee
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Love booze in your cup of joe? Try a classic Irish coffee! There’s nothing more soul-warming than the combination of bitter coffee, buttery whisky, and frothy whipped cream. This 1950’s drink is popular around the world, and has inspired many variations on the spiked coffee theme. As cocktail experts with over 300 cocktail recipes in our library, this one is a fast favorite. Here’s how to make Irish coffee!

Irish coffee ingredients

Irish coffee is a cocktail of warm coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey, topped with fresh cream or whipped cream. The modern version was invented in the 1950’s in Ireland. However, there are several spiked coffee predecessors existed in early 19th century Austria and France, and later in Cuba and Latin America. Spiked coffee is also known as carajillo in Spain and Latin America, and there are many variations on the theme. The ingredients for a classic Irish coffee are:

  • 6 oz warm coffee
  • 1 ½ oz Irish whiskey, like Jameson or other brands
  • 1 teaspoon brown or white sugar
  • Heavy cream, lightly whipped
Jameson Irish whiskey

How to make Irish coffee: overview

Making an Irish coffee is more than just pouring whiskey into a cup of joe. Here’s an overview of the process, then keep reading for specifics on each step (or jump right to the recipe!).

  1. Make the coffee, using your favorite method.
  2. Make the homemade whipped cream, making sure to whip to soft peaks.
  3. Add the coffee to a glass or Irish coffee mug, leaving about an inch at the top for cream. Stir in the sugar and whiskey until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Gently float the whipped cream on top using the back of a spoon. 

Types of coffee and methods

A cup of fresh brewed, hot coffee is best for Irish coffee. There are several types of coffee and ways to make coffee that work for this drink:

  • Dark roast coffee: This is most traditional for an Irish coffee so that the bitter notes of the coffee shine thought. Make it up in your standard coffee pot, a French press, an Aeropress, or a Moka Pot.
  • Medium roast coffee: Another option is using a single origin medium roast coffee and making it using a pour-over method in a Chemex coffee maker.
  • Espresso (Americano): Can you use espresso for Irish coffee? Some people claim an Americano makes for the best Irish coffee because it yields an intense, rich coffee flavor.
  • Decaf: You can use decaf coffee for Irish coffee for less of a buzz.
Irish coffee recipe

Jameson Irish whiskey vs other brands

Jameson whiskey is the easiest to find and most popular Irish whiskey, and it’s what you’ll most often find in an Irish coffee. You can use other great brands of Irish whiskey as well, as this category has heated up in recent years.

  • Jameson Irish whiskey has a unique flavor compared to other types of whiskey. It’s light and fruity, with a lightly floral scent and hints of nutty and vanilla tones. The finish is smooth and mellow, compared to the spicier finish of bourbon or rye whiskey.
  • Other popular brands of Irish whiskey are Redbreast, Spot, Knappogue Castle, Hyde, West Cork, Teeling, and Powers. (Here’s a review of 15 Irish whiskeys.)
  • A substitute for Irish whiskey in coffee is bourbon, but then we’d suggest calling it a Bourbon Coffee instead.
  • Try Jameson in other Irish whiskey cocktails like an Irish Sour, Irish Maid, and an Irish Mule.

Tips for homemade whipped cream

It’s important to use homemade whipped cream in an Irish coffee! Avoid using Reddi-Whip or Cool Whip in this coffee cocktail. A great Irish coffee recipe demands homemade whipped cream. For a dairy-free or vegan variation, use Dairy Free Whipped Cream instead. Here are a few tips for the drink:

  • Use the freshest cream you can. Fresh cream whips best and achieves the best texture. Cream closer to its expiration date comes out dense and chunky when it’s whipped.
  • Lightly sweeten the cream with a hint of powdered sugar, or whip it straight up. The Irish coffee has enough sweetness to carry the drink.
  • Whip the cream to soft peaks. This makes just the right soft texture for topping a drink; hard peaks make it too fluffy and buoyant.
  • Float it on top using the back of a spoon. This helps you gently place the cream on top of the drink.
Irish coffee ingredients

Best mugs for Irish coffee

You can serve your Irish coffee in whatever glass you like. But it’s most fun to drink it in Irish coffee mugs! Here are the Irish coffee mugs we recommend: they’re sleek and are exactly the right size to fit the drink recipe. You can also use them for all of the variations below.

There are countless variations on the whiskey and coffee theme: you can use any type of liquor to make a new drink! Really, it’s just spiked coffee, and it seems like every country has a spin. Here are some of the most popular Irish coffee variations to try:

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Classic Irish Coffee


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x

Description

Here’s how to make the best Irish coffee recipe! Just a few ingredients make this classic whiskey and coffee drink.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Make the coffee, using your favorite method.
  2. Make the homemade whipped cream, making sure to whip to soft peaks.
  3. Add the coffee to a glass or Irish coffee mug, leaving about an inch at the top for cream. Stir in the sugar and whiskey until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Gently float the whipped cream on top using the back of a spoon. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.