Irish Coffee Cocktail

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Cocktail Type


Great for

Dinner Party



Two Irish coffees in glasses on wood

What could be better than an after-dinner coffee? A classic Irish Coffee cocktail! Don’t let its worldly status intimidate you it’s a simple recipe with just a few easy-to-find ingredients. A good whiskey is a must, teamed with a good rich coffee, (sweetened if you like), and a little cream to top it all off. 



Pre-warm your glass with boiling water to ensure your cocktail stays warm longer. 


Avoid UHT or pasteurised cream as the flavour can’t match fresh as it won’t whip as well as the real stuff.


Brew your best cup of coffee: an espresso with hot water top up, or a French press.  



1 Person

120 Ml

4 Oz

4 Parts

Strong coffee
Teaspoons soft brown sugar to taste
45 Ml

1.5 Oz

1.5 Parts

Irish whiskey
30 Ml

1 Oz

1 Parts

Double cream, lightly whipped



Pour the coffee into a heatproof mug or glass with the sugar.  


Add the whiskey and stir to dissolve the sugar. 


Pour the lightly whipped cream slowly over the back of a spoon to allow it to float on the coffee. 


Sip the coffee through the cream for the full effect. 

History of the Irish Coffee cocktail

The story goes back to a cold winter in the early 1940s at Foynes Port, near Limerick, in Ireland (of course!). The small Foynes Airbase flying boat terminal became popular for fuel stopovers on transatlantic routes between Europe and the States during World War II. This tiny airport often hosted politicians and leaders from around the world, whose short fuel stops often became overnighters due to bad weather, creating the need for a restaurant.

One night, a storm forced a flight to return to the base. The restaurant chef, Joe Sheridan, warmed up and cheered up the group of disgruntled passengers by serving them a boozy coffee. As expected, the first Irish Coffees were a hit and added to the menu.

Soon, travel writer Stanton Delaplane decided to take Irish coffee cocktail recipe Stateside to San Francisco’s Buena Vista Bar and Café. But bartender Jack Koeppler couldn’t stop the cream from sinking! Joe Sheridan’s spoon trick wouldn’t be a secret for long, when Delaplane went back to Ireland to and coxed Joe to show him how it was done.

And so, the Irish Coffee story was carved in history. If you’re ever in Foynes, pop down to the museum where they honour Sheridan and still make his authentic Irish coffee cocktail today.

Try these variations for a twist on the classic

What would a classic cocktail be without creative mixologists around the world shaking things up a little? If you’re feeling adventurous, here are a few to try:

  • Garnish your Irish Coffee cocktail with a sprinkle of cocoa for chocolatey vibes or dip roasted coffee beans in melted chocolate briefly and freeze to garnish coffee cocktails.
  • If your guests are weary of the caffeine buzz late at night, make it with a good decaf coffee. All the taste, less the awake-awake!
  • Tequila fans, we don’t want you feeling left out! Try our Mexican Coffee cocktail for a perfect post-dinner caffeine kick.
  • On hot summery nights, just make a cold Irish Coffee cocktail using cold coffee or pour the coffee over plenty of ice for an iced Irish Coffee cocktail. It’s just as tasty and refreshing!

When to serve an Irish Coffee cocktail

Shouldn’t the question be: when isn’t it a good time to serve and Irish Coffee cocktail? It’s an excellent low alcohol cocktail to round up any night. But here are a few more specific suggestions for you to try!

  • As a dessert: Let this warm and sweet creamy sip take the place of dessert at casual suppers with friends.
  • Chilly pick me up: It’s a perfect serve for chilly wintery evenings around the fire.
  • St Patrick’s Day: Everyone is Irish come St Patrick’s day, so this cocktail is a must!
  • Christmas: It also works at Christmastime (or you can serve any of these hot Christmas drinks).


Joe Sheridan, a chef rather than a bartender, was the genius who invented this iconic cocktail we all know and love. He whipped up this concoction to change the mood of a few unhappy passengers who were grounded at his airport restaurant due to a storm.

Since Foynes was an airport that hosted dignitaries and celebrities on transatlantic stopovers, it was only a matter of time before the love of this cocktail spread. A travel writer called Stanton Delaplane stumbled upon this tasty cocktail and decided to make it famous stateside. Jack Koeppler of San Francisco's Buena Vista Café tried to make a success of it but failed. So Delaplane returned to Foynes begging Joe to share the secret how to keep the cream from sinking. In so doing, he offered Joe a job at Buena Vista. The rest is history!

If you are making this cocktail with an 80-proof whiskey, 120 millilitres of coffee dilutes the drink quite substantially, making Irish Coffee cocktail is a perfect low alc. After-dinner drink at about 9% ABV.

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