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Making Irish Coffee

Updated on January 17, 2015

How to Make Irish Coffee...and Variations!

Irish Coffee makes a great end to a magic evening of entertaining. It looks great, is warming and tastes good too.

While many may not like to indulge in a liqueur, a good Irish Coffee wins the day. It's not as hard to make as it appears. And I've included a couple of options depending on your pantry supplies.

Even those who do not usually drink the beverage agree that the smell of brewing coffee is one of the best! Give this special recipe a may get hooked! It brings back memories of happy evenings with friends for me!

Changing the Irish Whiskey for other alcohol changes the flavor but the concept remains the same. I have included some variations you may like to consider.

Photo Credit

Irish coffee with whipped cream
Irish coffee with whipped cream

The Origins of Irish Coffee

Irish coffee has its roots in County Limerick, Ireland, when chef, Joe Sheridan, came up with the idea to warm a group of American travellers on a miserable evening in the 1940s. The whisky was added to the coffee to warm the guests.

Travel writer Stanton Delaplane brought the recipe back to the USA where bar owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg recreated it for their bar, Buena Vista Cafe, in San Francisco.

Irish coffee became a popular cocktail but has lost a bit of that popularity in recent let's revive it! It's a winner on a cold evening!

Traditionally served with cream floating on the top these days many serve the beverage with whipped cream. However, beware of using whipped cream as it tends to sink and separate as you see in this photo. I slightly thicken the cream but do not whip!

Photo Credit

Shaking the Cream

I don't worry about an electric beater I just get my trusty Tupperware shaker out! When using a new shaker, as with many other Tupperware items, you may find soaking in warm water first will help when you place the parts together...otherwise they can be a bit tight. You may know that all Tupperware have a lifetime guarantee!

The Making of Irish Coffee

making Irish Coffee
making Irish Coffee

To thicken the cream use a shaker but be careful not too whip it too much. You only want it slightly thickened. This picture has a thicker consistency than I would normally use but it works well. The best way to retain the cream on the top is to pour it over the back of a spoon.

Photo Credit

Irish coffee
Irish coffee

Please note you may use instant coffee if you do not have filter coffee...just use two teaspoons of instant coffee and top with water.


  • Set of glasses
  • Irish Whiskey - 50 ml or 1.69 oz for each.
  • Sugar...white or brown
  • Hot coffee.
  • Cream thickened lightly.


  1. Place the whiskey in the glasses and add sugar. Pour in hot coffee (or water if using instant coffee) a spoon in the glass and this will conduct the heat to avoid the glass cracking. Stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved. I usually use two teaspoons of sugar.
  2. Turn a spoon over the top of the glass (you should be using the back of the spoon) and pour the cream slowly to avoid sinking the cream.
  3. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon or nutmeg.
Cast your vote for Irish Coffee

A spoon in the glass will prevent it cracking when pouring in the hot water.

Use the back of a spoon to pour the thickened cream on the top of your hot coffee. This will prevent the cream from sinking.

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Irish Coffee Glasses

irish coffee glasses
irish coffee glasses

These are my own collection of Irish coffee glasses, or as the ones on the right show, "Calypso Coffee", which is made with Tia Maria.

The traditional glasses have two lines circling the glass. The first is used to measure the quantity of whiskey and the coffee is poured in to the second level...followed then by cream.

Original Irish Coffee Glass (Set of 4)
Original Irish Coffee Glass (Set of 4)

It was in 1952, that the owner of the Buena Vista Cafe began his foray into experimenting with Irish coffee that had been enjoyed on a visit to Shannon Airport west of Dublin. This is the very type of glass that was chosen for his recipe.


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Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.

— Alex Levine

Whiskey or Whisky?

You may have noticed that I have used the two spellings throughout this article. Both are correct. Whisky is an umbrella term for a kind of spirit distilled from fermented grains.

American and Irish liquor producers tend to use the spelling WHISKEY. Canadian, Scottish, and Japanese producers use WHISKY. It is now accepted that the spelling should favor (favour?) the country of origin therefore whisky is whisky from Scotland, Canada and Japan but whiskey from America and Ireland.

Photo by Lyn Bell

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Use the base recipe and substitute the whiskey for the following....

  1. Calypso ~ Tia Maria
  2. Gaelic ~ Scottish Whisky
  3. French ~ Grand Marnier
  4. Italian ~ Amaretto
  5. Monk's ~ Bénédictine
  6. Sultan ~ Baileys Irish Cream
  7. American ~ Bourbon
  8. Russian ~ Vodka
  9. German ~ Schnapps
  10. Skye ~ Drambuie

Let me know you dropped by and leave a comment

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    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Pinned to my drinks and beverages board - another great liqueur offering from you! Remind me to stop by for a visit when I come into your town!

    • AntonioM23 profile image

      AntonioM23 4 years ago

      Very nice looking lens.Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      dudokdudok 4 years ago

      I liked this lens, like coffee with alcohol, drink it though sparingly - calories....

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Excellent lens with precise making instructions of the most famous alcoholic coffee. I had a recipe for this one but yours seems better and the variations equally interesting. Thanks for sharing:=)