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Warm up with an iconic Irish coffee! Our take on the classic is a comforting blend of whiskey and maple-sweetened coffee, topped with a cloud of whiskey whipped cream. It's an easy recipe that takes just 10 minutes to make!
Irish coffee is as classic as it gets. It's a cozy and comforting drink for special occasions and chilly evenings, and it can be made in minutes.
If you've ever wondered how to make an Irish coffee, it's much simpler than you imagine. The whiskey whipped cream is an extra step, but it's an easy one and it's well worth the effort.
First, start by making the whipped cream. You can use an electric mixer, or just shake it in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid until it starts to stiffen. Just be sure not to overwhip it!
Then pour the whiskey and maple syrup into mugs, top them with hot coffee and a dollop of whipped cream, and serve right away! For a fancy touch, sprinkle the tops with a little shaved chocolate.
There's really no wrong time to wrap your hands around a warm mug of Irish coffee! It's a great addition to St. Paddy's Day celebrations, birthdays, or holiday mornings. It also makes a delicious way to end the day, as an after-dinner drink on chilly winter nights.
What is Irish coffee?
The iconic Irish coffee is a caffeinated alcoholic drink made traditionally with four ingredients: Irish whiskey, hot coffee, sugar, and cream. It's served in a warm, footed mug topped with a cloud of thick whipped cream.
The drink recipe's origins date back to the early 1940s when it is said to have been created by Joe Sheridan, a chef at a restaurant in Ireland. It became popular in the states several years later after a well-known columnist, Stanton Delaplane, successfully recreated it with San Francisco bartender Jack Koeppler. Stanton wrote about it in his column, helping to earn both the drink and the Buena Vista cafe, a following.
Irish coffee ingredients
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this Irish coffee recipe. Here's what you need:
- Irish whiskey – for a classic Irish coffee, make sure to use an Irish whiskey like Jameson.
- Maple syrup – we use maple syrup instead of sugar and the taste of maple plays really well with the other flavors. It also mellows the bite from the whiskey. You can use regular or brown sugar instead.
- Brewed coffee – any hot, freshly brewed strong coffee will work. Use decaffeinated coffee if needed, or if you're making it later in the day.
Whiskey whipped cream ingredients:
- Whipping cream – whipping cream is essentially the same as heavy cream and contains at least 36% milk fat (MF). Use a dairy-free alternative if needed.
- Irish whiskey – for more whiskey flavor.
- Maple syrup – just a touch, to make it sweet!
How to make Irish coffee
This recipe for Irish coffee with whiskey whipped cream is incredibly delicious and comforting and doesn't require any special skills or equipment. It's seriously so easy. Let's make one!
- Beat the whipping cream, whiskey, and maple syrup together until you start to see soft peaks.
- Add an ounce of whiskey and maple syrup to each mug and then top with hot coffee (leaving a bit of room at the top).
- Top with a dollop of whiskey whipped cream and serve right away. In the pictures, we garnish it with a few chocolate shavings. Enjoy!
How to make whipped cream with a mason jar
If you don't have an electric mixer, don't worry, you can still make the whiskey whipped cream. Simply add all the ingredients to a mason jar (or a container with a tight-fitting lid), and shake it until it begins to stiffen. This is also a convenient way to store any leftover whipped cream!
Tips for making the best Irish coffee
Like most recipes, higher-quality ingredients make a better-tasting Irish coffee. Here are our tips for making the best Irish coffee at home:
- A dark roast coffee will have a more robust flavor to match the strong taste of the whiskey. You can use any coffee you like, but freshly brewed is a must!
- We know there are a lot of amazing whiskeys on the market, but in this case, only Irish whiskey will do.
- Don't overwhip your whipped cream. You're looking for soft peaks. To help your whipped cream float, hold a warm teaspoon over the mug, and pour it slowly onto the coffee's surface.
- Warm your mug first. This keeps the drink warmer for longer.
- Top it off with some chocolate shavings, or a dusting of nutmeg or cocoa powder.
How do you get the whipped cream to float?
The whipped cream on top of an Irish coffee is an important part of the experience. One trick that works is to hold a warm teaspoon over the mug and pour the whipped cream slowly over the spoon onto the coffee's surface.
What's an Irish coffee mug?
An Irish coffee mug is used primarily for serving Irish coffee. It's a clear mug made from glass with a short stem and a footed base.
What's the best kind of Irish whiskey to use?
Jameson is a good quality classic Irish whiskey. Bushmills is another less expensive option.
Can I use Bailey's instead of whiskey?
Bailey's is a liqueur made with cream, cocoa, and Irish whiskey. Using it instead of Irish whiskey would turn this drink into an Irish cream latte, which is also delicious!
Should I stir my Irish coffee?
The cream is supposed to sit at the top of the coffee when served, but you can certainly stir the cream in when you're ready to drink it.
When to serve Irish coffee
There's really no occasion that isn't made better by an Irish coffee! It is a natural and obvious choice for celebrating St. Patrick's Day, but this warm and comforting drink also tastes great on holiday mornings, chilly evenings, or as an after-dinner drink in place of dessert. Cheers!
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 12 ounces hot brewed coffee
Whiskey Whipped Cream
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Start by making the whiskey whipped cream. Add the cream, whiskey, and maple syrup to a medium-sized bowl. Using electric beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.⅓ cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey, 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Add one ounce of whiskey and maple syrup to each mug. Pour in the coffee, leaving a little room at the top for the cream.2 ounces Irish whiskey, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 12 ounces hot brewed coffee
- Top the coffee with whipped cream and serve right away.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.