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Irish Coffee Recipe

One of the most popular things to do with good Irish whiskey is to add some hot coffee and top it with cool cream. That’s the basic Irish Coffee recipe, yes, but there are lots of ways to add a little “color” to the brew. Here’s my favorite Irish Coffee recipe.

You can mix any Irish Coffee recipe straight into a serving glass but be sure the glass is tempered, meaning hot liquids won’t cause it to burst. Fine crystal is definitely a no-no for this one.

Any coffee mug will do but there are some specialty Irish Coffee mugs, usually made of clear glass, that beautifully showcase the contrasting layers of the cocktail. Goblets and wine glasses are popular glassware for serving Irish Coffee, too, as long as they can take the heat.

The measurements below can be scaled easily to serve a crowd or adjusted to fill whatever size serving vessel is used. The only real concern is to keep the ratio of whiskey to coffee the same: 1 part whiskey to 2 parts coffee.


Irish Coffee Recipe for one serving

Into a heat-resistant serving glass with a sugar-frosted rim, pour

1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 shots Irish whiskey
4 shots hot coffee

Garnishes: whipped cream (canned or hand made), green creme de menthe

Stir gently to dissolve the sugar then top the drink with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Drizzle the cream with just a little bit of green creme de menthe (for color rather than flavor).


To frost the rim of a glass or coffee mug with sugar, pour a thin layer of sugar (either brown or white) in a flat saucer. Pour a thin layer of coffee in another saucer. Gently dip the rim of the glass into the coffee first and then into the sugar.

For the safest way to pour the coffee or any hot liquid into a glass, first put a long-handled spoon into the glass with the bowl (bottom) side up. It’s OK to set the spoon into the glass and let the handle rest against the sides of the glass while you assemble the cocktail. Pour a thin stream of the coffee over the bowl of the spoon so it and the heat it carries are dispersed gently into the glass vessel.

Like so many Irish legends, nobody knows the true origin of the Irish Coffee cocktail but it’s been enjoyed, if not officially named, for well over 100 years. Its name is said to have originated at the airport in County Limerick during the 1940s. A group of jet-lagged American travelers are said to have disembarked one winter evening after a long and blustery flight.

When asked if they wanted some Irish whiskey, the frazzled travelers asked for some coffee with it. Their bartender mixed the coffee and whiskey together in the same mug. The delighted passengers are said to have asked if they were drinking Brazilian coffee and the bartender replied, no, that it was Irish Coffee. And the name lives on.

Sláinte, everyone!

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Content copyright © 2018 by Sandy Hemphill. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Sandy Hemphill. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sandy Hemphill for details.


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