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A world of unique, crafted gins

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Total flexibility, no commitment

A world of unique, crafted gins

Easy, free and reliable delivery

Total flexibility, no commitment

A world of unique, crafted gins

Easy, free and reliable delivery

The best Irish Coffee recipe!

The best Irish Coffee recipe!

Mar 6, 2024

In this feature, we are teaching you how to make the perfect Irish Coffee at home.

We'll be running through the history of this amazing boozy coffee recipe, helping you pick the right Irish Coffee ingredients and taking you through the method step by step so that you can get that gorgeous layer of cream floating on top of the coffee and whiskey.

We can't wait for you to give this one a try!

What is Irish Coffee?

Irish coffee is a hot, alcoholic coffee drink that combines Irish whiskey with black coffee, sugar and cream.

The drink is served black with the cream floated on top for drinkers to sip the boozy coffee through. The cream gives the tipple a two-tone appearance, black and white, that looks much like Guinness.

The floated cream element of the drink has led the coffee to be referred to as "floater coffee" by some.

The flavour of Irish Coffee is a mixture of rich, woody Irish whiskey, sweet, aromatic coffee and velvety cream, making it a warming, hearty drink that is loved by many.

Today, Irish Coffee is most often served at the end of a meal or instead of a dessert.

Example of an Irish Coffee, with cream floating on top of black coffee

Who invented Irish Coffee?

There has been some debate over who invented Irish Coffee, however, it is now widely accepted that Irish chef Joe Sheridan invented the Irish Coffee as we know it today.

Where and when was Irish Coffee invented?

Irish Coffee is thought to have been invented at some point between 1942 and 1943 in Limerick, Ireland, at Foynes Port, an airbase for seaplanes.

Joe Sheridan was working as the Head Chef there at the time and would add Irish whiskey to coffee for travellers leaving and coming into the airport on long, transatlantic flights.

Sheridan later moved to San Francisco, America, where the drink also became very popular.

What's in an Irish Coffee?

Irish Coffee has just four ingredients in it: freshly brewed black coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and cream.

Irish Coffee Ingredients:

  • Black coffee: For the perfect Irish Coffee, we recommend using black coffee in the "Americano" style. Espresso coffee will be too intense and will not give you enough liquid.

    We recommend brewing a cafetière of coffee, making a pour-over coffee or getting an Americano coffee from a coffee machine for this.

    As for the variety of coffee beans to use, that is really up to the preference of the drinker. But the higher the quality of the coffee, the more delicious your Irish Coffee will be.
  • Irish whiskey: It is thought that Joe Sheridan originally used Jameson Irish Whiskey in his original Irish Coffee back in the 1940s. However, you can use any of your favourite Irish whiskeys in Irish coffee.

    We love using The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Irish Whiskey, which we sent to Craft Gin Club members in their March 2024 Gin of the Month box.

    This "new to the world" Irish whiskey is made with a blend of high-quality Single Grain, Single Malt and Single Pot Still whiskeys, giving it a unique and delicious mix of tropical fruit, vanilla, malt, dark chocolate, cinnamon and toffee fudge tones that simply work so well with coffee.
The Busker Irish Whiskey as an Irish Coffee ingredient
  • Sugar: We like to use brown or light brown sugar in Irish Coffee. Those subtle yet scrumptious caramel tones complement both the whiskey and the coffee in ways that white or dark brown sugar simply can't.
  • Cream: It is best to use double cream when making Irish Coffee.

    For a lighter yet still indulgent texture, we recommend aerating the cream a little before pouring it onto the surface of your coffee.

    To aerate the cream, beat it with a spoon until slightly more voluptuous yet still liquid. Be careful not to whip the cream or take it to a "soft peak" consistency.

How to make Irish Coffee:

Once you have the ingredients ready, Irish Coffee is very quick and easy to make at home.

All you have to do is stir the whiskey, sugar and coffee until the sugar has dissolved then add the cream.

To make sure that you get a clean layer of cream on top of the coffee, wait for it to be completely still, then hold the tip of a spoon to the top of the coffee at no more than a 45% angle and pour the cream over the back of the spoon.

All that's left to do then is enjoy this indulgent delight.

Here's the full recipe...

The best Irish Coffee recipe:

40ml The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Irish Whiskey
200ml hot black coffee (Americano)
1tsp brown sugar
Lightly aerated double cream, to top

Add The Busker Irish Whiskey, sugar and coffee to an Irish coffee glass and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Once the coffee is settled, pour the cream down the back of a spoon held close to the surface of the coffee so that it forms a thick layer. Serve and enjoy!

Irish Coffee Recipe with whiskey

Alternative Irish Coffee recipes:

There are lots of alternative Irish Coffee recipes out there for you to experiment with, including our very own gin and amaretto-based Irish Coffee, which you can find at this link.

However, the most popular alternative Irish Coffee has to be an Irish Coffee with Baileys Irish Cream.

To make a Bailey's Irish Coffee, simply swap the Baileys in for the whiskey in the recipe above. What you get is a much creamier, sweeter Irish Coffee that is absolutely delicious.

Irish Coffee with Baileys

Find even more coffee cocktails!