How To Make Irish Coffee

How To Make Irish Coffee

Maureen Petrosky
Mar 16, 2012

With a shot of Irish whisky in your coffee it's no wonder St. Patrick's Day had the lads and ladies hollerin' "Top o' the mornin'!" Like any recipe there are numerous views of how this sip should be served. It's only suitable we've got our favorite take too.

In the most general of terms you'll need some hot coffee, sugar — brown, cubes or granulated — the key ingredient — Irish whisky — and some whipped cream. There's no better way to kick off a St. Patrick's Day celebration than with a piping hot cup of Irish coffee alongside a fresh slice of soda bread slathered with butter.

What You Need

6 ounces of hot, fresh brewed coffee
1 teaspoon sugar (a sugar cube is equal to one teaspoon, and you may use brown sugar if you prefer)
1 jigger (or 1 1/2 ounces) Irish whisky
Heavy cream, freshly whipped (see Note below)

Heatproof glass or mug


1. Pour hot water into your mug or glass to take the chill off. Then pour out the water. This will also prevent your glass from cracking.

2. Fill your glass about three-quarters high with the coffee.

3. Add sugar.

4. Stir until it is fully dissolved.

5. Add Irish whisky.

6. Top with freshly whipped cream. If using lightly whipped you should pour slowly over a warm spoon onto the coffee being careful not to break the coffee's surface. This takes some practice. A fool-proof way to not break the surface is to whip the cream a bit more and dollop it gently on top. (Note: Lightly whipped will give you a frothy cream collar on top. If you want to pile the cream high, you'll need to whip to medium-stiff peaks.)

7. Enjoy while hot!

A few popular versions of Irish Coffee:
Classic Irish Coffee: Uses brown sugar and lightly whipped cream poured over a warm spoon.
Buena Vista Irish Coffee: Uses two sugar cubes and calls for the cream to be lightly whipped and poured over the back of a spoon.
Irish Cream Coffee: Calls for half Irish whisky and half Bailey's, and is topped with a Maraschino cherry.
Bailey's Irish Coffee: Only uses Bailey's instead of Irish Whisky. This version is sweeter and fuller-bodied than the traditional.

Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices, and advice with the world. For more info check out

Previously... Warm Up with Irish Coffee

(Images: Maureen C. Petrosky)

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