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How to make Irish Coffee

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I consider learning How to Make Irish Coffee a bit of a life skill that everyone must learn. This is a brilliant, delicious, hot cocktail made with lightly sweetened coffee, Irish whiskey, cream and (sometimes) chocolate shavings.

irish coffee in glass mug with foam drip down side

January 25th is National Irish Coffee Day. It’s perfect to be celebrating Irish Coffee in the middle of winter since this classic hot cocktail does a good job of warming you up, just like the Hot Toddy or Hot Buttered Rum. Make an Iced Irish Coffee in warmer months!

What’s the history of Irish Coffee?

It’s said that Irish Coffee was created in the winter of 1943 by Joe Sheridan, a chef at Foynes Point (an airbase) in Ireland. Passengers on a Pan Am jet were directed back to the base due to bad weather, and Sheridan gave them all a coffee with whiskey and cream to warm them up.

The story goes that when an American passenger first drank it he asked “Is this Brazilian coffee?” in which Joe replied “No, that’s Irish coffee”. The cocktail became a popular drink at the airport, and everyone who traveled through got to enjoy it.

“Whiskey in your coffee… because it’s Ireland somewhere!”

-Unknown

A travel writer who had sampled the cocktail while traveling through Ireland brought the idea of it to a bartender in San Francisco at Buena Vista Cafe. They re-created the drink, and from that moment on– it became a super popular staple of the Buena Vista Cafe.

ingredients displayed for irish coffee

Ingredients needed:

  • whipped cream
  • Irish whiskey
  • brown sugar
  • hot coffee
  • chocolate shavings (optional)
how to make irish coffee

How to make Irish coffee:

Make the whipped cream first. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream until it is light and fluffy with medium peaks.

Then warm up the mug. Pour boiling water into a mug and let it sit for a few minutes. Then pour out the water.

Irish coffee in glass mug with cream on top

Add whiskey and brown sugar to the mug. Pour coffee on top. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

To add the whipped cream on top, turn a spoon upside-down and pour the whipped cream over the back of the spoon, letting it fall into the mug. This allows the cream to float on top, rather than sinking to the bottom!

irish coffee in glass mugs

Don’t stir the cream into the coffee. The proper way to drink an Irish coffee is to sip it right through the cream floating on top. Add some chocolate shavings on top, if you’d like.

cozy sweater hand holding irish coffee in mug

Originator Joe Sheridan said that these components make up the best Irish coffee:

  • Cream – Rich as an Irish Brogue
  • Coffee – Strong as a Friendly Hand
  • Sugar – Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue
  • Whiskey – Smooth as the Wit of the Land

Variations of Irish Coffee:

  • Try using different kinds of whiskey. Jameson is the classic Irish whiskey used for Irish Coffee, but try whiskeys that have more spice or bolder or smoother flavors.
  • Flavor of coffee can have a big impact on the flavor of your cocktail. Try different kinds!
  • Add in some coffee liqueur.
  • Use espresso in place of coffee.
  • Add Bailey’s Irish Cream to coffee to make an “Irish coffee.” It won’t be traditional, but many people drink them this way.
irish coffee in glass mug with foam drip down side

Irish Coffee

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Just the kind of cocktail you want to warm you up on a chilly day!

Ingredients

Whipped Cream

  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Irish Coffee Cocktail:

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) hot coffee
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Make the whipped cream: In a small bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream until it has medium peaks- light and fluffy.

Assemble the cocktail: Pour boiling water into a mug and let it sit for about 3 minutes to warm up the mug. Then dump it out. Add the whiskey and brown sugar to the mug. Pour the coffee on top. Give it a stir to dissolve the sugar. To put the whipped cream on top, turn a spoon upside down and pour the whipped cream over the back of the spoon, letting it fall into the mug. This allows the cream to float on top, rather than sinking to the bottom. Don't stir. This cocktail is meant to be sipped through the cream.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

Nutritional information is estimated and is not likely to be 100% accurate.

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