Irish Coffee Recipes:
A Delicious Reminder of the Emerald Isle!

One of our favorite Irish expressions, Irish Coffee recipes have warmed us during many chilly visits to the Emerald Isle and other European countries.  And it’s not bad right here at home, either (wherever home is for you!)

Image of two perfectly formed Irish Coffees in glass mugs with sharp distinction between cream and coffee.

At its core, this wonderful hot beverage is just coffee, whiskey, sugar and cream – but to make it memorable, the details make all the difference!

There are as many variations of Irish coffee as there are drink makers... But we invite you to try the approaches below, and if you like them, make them your own.

Basic Irish Coffee Recipes:
First a Word About Quality

You WILL taste the difference, if you make the effort to use the best ingredients.  Choose your favorite coffee, and make sure it is hot. Don’t skip the sugar, it is part of the overall experience of a good Irish coffee.

Believe it or not, the quality of the whiskey will make a difference. Ask for your own favorite by name, or take a recommendation from your waiter or companion (we enjoy Redbreast 12).

And the cream … once again, it’s part of the experience, don’t skimp. Go with double cream, and if you are preparing it yourself, take the time to treat the cream as described below.

One popular variation is to dip the rim of the glass into granulated sugar after the boiling water is removed and before the coffee is added.

Two well prepared Irish Coffees in cut glass presentation.


  • 1/2 cup of your favorite coffee
  • 1 ounce of your favorite Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whipped double cream


  1. Prepare the class by filling with boiling water and emptying it.
  2. Add hot coffee, filling the glass to about 2/3 full.
  3. Add sugar and mix until it dissolves.
  4. Add the whiskey.
  5. Pour the cream into the glass over the back of a spoon to make sure it floats on top when served. Serve piping hot.

A Modern Twist to the Beloved Classic

For those who perhaps prefer a slightly sweeter and more decadent version of their coffee, we suggest trying this variation. It maintains the essential elements of an Irish Coffee but adds a little extra flair to enhance the overall experience.

This variation puts a modern spin on traditional Irish coffee recipes by introducing flavored coffee and Irish cream liqueur. This complements the sweetness of the brown sugar and cream liqueur, although it may appeal more to those with a sweet tooth.

The nutmeg and chocolate syrup are a delightful addition, adding layers of flavor and complexity to the beverage, and making it even more enticing to drink.


  • 1/2 cup of caramel or vanilla-flavoured coffee
  • 1 ounce of your favorite Irish cream liqueur (Baileys is a popular choice)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of whipped double cream
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A drizzle of chocolate syrup


  1. Prepare the glass by filling with boiling water, then emptying it.
  2. Brew your flavored coffee and while it's hot, pour it into the glass filling to about 2/3 full.
  3. Add the brown sugar and stir until it is fully dissolved.
  4. Add the Irish cream liqueur, giving the drink a unique creamy twist.
  5. Pour the whipped cream into the glass over the back of a spoon, ensuring it floats on top.
  6. Drizzle some chocolate syrup over the cream and sprinkle the nutmeg on top. Serve immediately while it is still warm.

Questions and Answers About Irish Coffee

Q: What is the best time to drink Irish Coffee?

A: Anytime! But in our experience it is most commonly consumed after dinner.

Q: Can I use any whiskey for my Irish Coffee?

A: Of course, however, a good quality Irish Whiskey is recommended because it will greatly enhance the taste.  We have chosen Tullamore Dew as our favorite through extensive personal research :-).  Ok, we got the idea from the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, the most famous makers of Irish Coffee that we know about.

Q: Can you use heavy cream instead of double cream?

A: Yes, while double cream has a slightly higher fat content, heavy cream can also create a satisfying and creamy top layer.  Just be sure to use actual cream!

Q: Can Irish Coffee be served cold?

A: Yes, it can be served as an iced coffee. Simply put a few ice cubes in the glass before pouring your mixture.  Not our favorite approach but hey, you asked the question :-).

Q: Is there any non-alcoholic version of Irish Coffee?
A: Yes, just replace the Irish whiskey with a tablespoon of Irish cream syrup for a non-alcoholic alternative.

Q: Can I use flavored whiskeys?
A: Definitely! Caramel or honey-flavored whiskeys can add a delightful twist to your Irish Coffee.

Q: Can I add other types of sweetener?
A: Yes, you can use alternatives like honey or maple syrup as a sweeter, but remember it might slightly alter the flavor.

Q: What is the purpose of the spoon when adding the cream?
A: The spoon is used to help the cream float on top of the coffee and create a distinct layer between the coffee and cream.  Without this approach you risk blending the cream with the coffee - still delicious but not the same experience.

Q: Can I serve Irish Coffee in a normal cup?

A: Yes, but don't, if you can help it :-).  Traditionally it is served in glass to show off the beautiful layers of coffee, whiskey, and cream.

Q: How can I make my Irish Coffee Vegan?
A: You can replace the double cream with a vegan alternative, such as coconut cream. Opt for a whiskey that is confirmed as vegan and use a vegan-friendly sweetener.

Hungry for More Irish Recipes?

Sharing Irish food is one of our favorite ways to enjoy an Irish experience, wherever in the world we happen to be!  

The flavors of an Irish meal, and the stories that come along with many Irish recipes, gives us a sense of connection with the Emerald Isle.

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