The perfect Irish coffee

Photo by Jules:Stonesoup
Photo by Jules:Stonesoup

Coffee cocktails – mixtures of coffee and alcohol – have been around a long time, but the traditional Irish coffee is one of the best known and most popular. Called ‘Irish coffee’ as it was invented in Limerick, Ireland by head chef Joe Sheridan, it’s a mixture of hot coffee and Irish coffee. Sheridan invented the drink for group of passengers who got off a flight on a cold winter evening in the 1940s, adding whiskey to hot coffee to warm them up.

The drink quickly became so popular it spread worldwide, and it’s particularly well known in the US.

A traditional Irish coffee consists of strong black coffee, Irish whiskey, brown sugar and double cream (not whipped cream). The secret lies in pouring the cream over the back of a spoon so that it forms a floating layer on top of the coffee. The coffee is then sipped through the layer of cream.

Irish coffee recipe (makes two servings)


You’ll also need tall, heatproof glasses, preferably special Irish whiskey glasses, although it’s possible to improvise with mugs.

Start by dividing the whiskey and the sugar evenly between the two glasses, and stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Carefully pour the hot, fresh coffee into the glasses, finishing about 4cm from the top. Slowly pour the cream over the back of a tablespoon, so that it forms a layer on top of the coffee. Continue to pour the cream until it almost reaches the rim of the glass, then serve immediately.

To browse our range of quality coffee beans online, please visit our coffee beans page.