History of Irish Coffee

How to Make a Classic Irish Coffee

History of Irish Coffee

Have you ever been to an Irish restaurant or pub and felt like finishing of your evening dinner with a nice Original Irish Coffee? Or perhaps you were having a dinner party at home and one of your guests or yourself wanted to have a Irish coffee made the original way.

But what is the Original Irish Coffee Recipe? Continue reading to find out not only the original recipe but also about the history of Irish Coffee

Classic Irish Coffee Recipe


  • 6 oz Hot Fresh Roasted coffee
  • 1 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces of cream
  • 1 oz of Irish whiskey

Step by Step Instructions For A Classic Irish Coffee

Step 1. Fill up a glass with hot water to heat up the glass.  Pour out the water.

Step 2. Place two cocktail sugar cubes (one cube equals one teaspoon) at the bottom of the warmed-up glass. The original recipe called for two teaspoons of brown sugar. Some people use one teaspoon of brown sugar and one teaspoon of white sugar at the bottom of the warmed-up glass.

Step 3. Pour hot coffee (strong and rich) over the cubes (4 oz. typically), filling the glass to about three-quarters full.

Step 4 Stir the sugar until dissolved and mixed.

Step 5. Add Irish whiskey (80-proof, 1.5 oz. typically), leaving room for the dollop of cream on top. Do not stir.

Step 6. Pour a collar on top of a nice helping of heavy, cold cream — lightly whipped double cream, whipped to light peaks; about .75 – 1 oz.  You can gently smooth it over, if desired, with the convex side of a spoon.

Step 7. Enjoy!

Modern Variations of The Irish Coffee Recipe

So, what about variations of Irish Coffee over time? There are preferences of Bailey’s being added, shared with whiskey content in some ratio, or even used instead of whiskey. Some people add cinnamon and nutmeg. Some people garnish with chocolate shavings, or a sprinkling of brown sugar.

Some use all white sugar, and others use half white and half brown, where the brown adds caramel notes that lend to the drink a lovely-tasting combination. Some even add mint flavoring to the cream but the bottom line is the possibilities are endless

What is the Best Coffee For A Irish Coffee?

Coffee Beans for Irish Coffee

Now, one thing people may not give much thought to is the coffee roast level. Typically, a light or medium roast versus a darker roast is going to bring out more of the lighter, natural but deemphasized coffee bean flavor and let the whiskey flavor be more noticeable.

To bring out unusual flavor of sweet spices and fruit or other elements, a medium to darker roast is recommended. Because Irish whiskey is smooth and sweet, when you choose your whiskey if not Irish whiskey (although Irish Coffee should be made with Irish whiskey) something in the mid-range with a mild, sweet finish will properly counter the bitter coffee.

The coffee, Sumatra Silimakuta, roasted at a medium-dark roast was selected as a great coffee to use in Irish Coffee recipes by Stockton Graham & Co. for “its medium body, cocoa and soft hints of tangerine”.

Because this coffee is wet-hulled, a unique process that combines elements of both wet and dry processing, it has a distinctive flavor.”

A French roast, on the other hand, of say a dark-roasted blend of Central American coffees, offers smooth bodied and subtle flavor. And a dark roast will bring notable acidity to the flavor profile that tends to brighten at the end of the tasting.

Final Thoughts

As a final thought, some people have ordered an Irish Coffee to be made with fancy and more expensive Irish whiskey, but most people seem to think that the traditional Jameson’s Irish whiskey is just the right blend of smooth, sweet, and spicy.  Enjoy!