Irish Coffee Recipe – Deliciously Smooth and Creamy Adult Drink

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A mug of your favorite hot coffee mixed with Irish whiskey and brown sugar and topped with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg (or cinnamon), make this classic Irish Coffee recipe a deliciously smooth and creamy treat!

The blustery cold winter months are the perfect time for hot drinks! And while coffee and Hot Toddy's are great winter warmers, a warm mug of this Irish Coffee is even better!

Irish Coffee recipe

What's An Irish Coffee?

Classic Irish coffees are made with just four simple ingredients:

  1. Coffee – A batch of regular brewed coffee works best in this drink. Be sure to make the drink while the coffee is still piping hot!
  2. A Sweetener– a sweetener is essential regardless of whether you are a fan of sweet coffee or not. And it's not just for the flavor, either. The sweetener actually helps keep the cream floating on the coffee. The type of sweetener you use is totally up to you. Some use straight white sugar while others use brown sugar, molasses, or even a combination of sweeteners.
  3. Whiskey – Irish whiskey, is what really ties it together!
  4. Cream – this coffee just wouldn't be the same without cream. Just as with the sweetener, the type of cream used can vary between recipes.

How to Make Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee is quite simple to make, and you don't need any special bartending skills. There are, however, a few tips and tricks, such as how to make the whipped cream float, that I share below. The full ingredients and instructions can be found in the printable recipe at the end of this post.

Kitchen Tools You May Need

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Ingredients You Will Need

Irish coffee with sprinkle of cinnamon

What is the best coffee for Irish Coffee?

The best coffee to use is simply a batch of regularly brewed coffee. Using espresso or other specialty coffee is unnecessary and, in my experience, overpowers a classic drink recipe that is perfectly fine as is. I am partial to a dark roast, but it's whatever your preference is. So, pick your favorite blend, and start brewing.

What is the best whiskey for Irish coffee?

Whiskey is the star of this delectable coffee drink. It's what ties the whole thing together, so don't skimp on this part. Use the good stuff! Some of the best  – and the most common – Irish whiskeys used include:

  • Jameson Irish Whiskey – this is a classic!
  • Bushmills Black Bush – this gives it a hint of spice.
  • Knappogue 12-Year-Old – results in a rich drink

What cream should I use for Irish coffee?

The type of cream you use varies between recipes. Some people use a canned cream like Reddi Whip (not recommended for this recipe), while others use a homemade whipped cream made from heavy cream. This particular recipe uses freshly whipped cream, and to me, that's what tastes best.

How do you make cream float on Irish coffee?

Making cream float isn't hard, but there are a few tips and tricks involved. I've found that as long as the coffee is very hot, and the cream has a high-fat content and isn’t over-whipped, you have a better chance of getting it to float instead of it mixing into the coffee on contact.

I add it to my coffee and other drinks by pouring the whipped cream gently over the back of a spoon.

Irish Coffee recipe 1

Irish Coffee Recipe Variations

While I believe the classic Irish Coffee recipe is delicious as is, there are also many tasty variations! Here are a few of the most popular ones:

Irish Coffee with Baileys

This one happens to be my personal favorite. In this version, you use Baileys Irish Cream instead of the whiskey. It gives you a sweeter drink with a  fuller body.

Irish Cream Coffee

Another popular variation is Irish Cream Coffee. This one uses half Irish whiskey and half Baileys. Top with a Maraschino cherry for an added splash of sweetness and color!

Kahlua Recipe

Another simple yet extremely tasty variation is to use Kahlua, hot coffee, and Irish Whiskey or Baileys. And, for an extra delicious flavor boost, try topping the whipped cream with chocolate shavings! This really makes the Kahlua flavor pop.

Irish Coffee Recipe – Printable

Irish Coffee

Irish coffee with sprinkle of cinnamon
A mug of your favorite hot coffee mixed with Irish whiskey and brown sugar and topped with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg (or cinnamon), make this classic Irish Coffee recipe a deliciously smooth and creamy treat!
84758d602cdcd90fa2a5d32530aef165?s=30&d=mm&r=gKelly Reci
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


Homemade Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp real maple syrup

Irish Coffee Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ounces Irish Whiskey
  • 1 pinch nutmeg or cinnamon


Whipped Cream Instructions

  • In a large bowl, blend 1 pint of heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer or immersion blender until it doubles in size and changes texture. Then, drizzle maple syrup into the bowl and continue blending until the mixture is light and fluffy. Set aside.

Irish Coffee Instructions

  • Preheat the nug by filling with hot water, then empty.
  • Immediately add the freshly-brewed, piping hot coffee into the warmed glass until it is about 3/4 full.
  • Add the brown sugar* and stir until completely dissolved, then blend in Irish whiskey.
  • Top with the whipped heavy cream by slowly pouring it over the back of a spoon.


*or substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons (to taste) of maple syrup instead of brown sugar

More Adult Drink Recipes

Like this coffee recipe? Then you'll love these other drink recipes!


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