How to Make Irish Coffee

A classic cocktail, Irish Coffee is easy and delicious to serve at home. Made with just four ingredients—coffee, Irish whiskey sugar and sweetened whipped cream—this Irish coffee recipe is perfect for any occasion. Makes 1 coffee cocktail, but can easily be doubled or tripled.

Love cocktails with Irish ingredients? Don’t miss The Boyfriend Irish Coffee and Baileys Coffee!

Three Irish Coffees sit on a silver tray, garnished with whipped cream, chocolate and green sprinkles

I don’t remember the first time I saw someone drinking an Irish Coffee, but I remember the first time I realized what it was.

My Memother died when I was in college, and when our entire family traveled to West Virginia for her funeral, I saw my aunts sipping this decadent coffee treat one evening.

While I was old enough to enjoy it at that point, I wasn’t into whiskey, so I passed on the opportunity to give it a try.

It wasn’t until St. Patrick’s Day years later that I’d try this coffee cocktail and fall in love at first sip.

Why I love this recipe:

This Irish Coffee recipe is a classic for a reason, and I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with y’all today. It’s incredibly comforting, simple and delicious.

Also, chances are you have most of the Irish coffee ingredients at your home already!

I mean… who wouldn’t love the combination of hot, freshly brewed, sweetened coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey and homemade whipped cream?

This coffee cocktail always hits the spot, and no matter the time of day you make it, it’s tasty.

The key to succeeding at making an Irish Coffee is tasting your coffee and adding the sweetness you need before adding the whiskey and whipped cream, so keep that in mind!

More coffee cocktails you might enjoy: The Siciliano | The Ginger Pomegranate Experiment | The Melty Cold Brew Shake

Need inspiration for March 17? Head on over to my St. Patrick’s Day recipe index for ideas!

Three Irish Coffee glasses hold sweetened coffee on a silver tray

What you need to make homemade Irish Coffee

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What are the ingredients for Irish coffee?

You only need a handful of Irish coffee ingredients to make this recipe happen!

  • Your favorite brewed coffee—I tend to go for decaf here because I’m sensitive to caffeine when it’s not the morning, but you do you
  • Irish whiskey—your favorite brand works! We typically keep Jameson in our house, but there are several other brands.
  • Granulated sugar—to add a bit of sweetness to the coffee itself
  • Sweetened whipped cream—not only does it add some creaminess to this coffee drink, but it’s got a little but of sweetness, too, that balances out the punch from the Irish whiskey
  • Sprinkles or chocolate chips—as a fun garnish!
Collage of four images showing how to make an Irish Coffee

How to make this Irish Coffee recipe

Brew your coffee. Use your favorite coffee and brew it the way you usually brew your coffee. Keep in mind that you can use decaf in this Irish Coffee recipe, too.

Add the sugar to the bottom of your mug. Pour in the hot coffee, and give it a stir. Give it a taste to confirm the flavor and add extra sugar, if necessary.

Pour in the Irish whiskey, and give it another stir.

Garnish the coffee drink! Add a big ‘ol dollop of homemade sweetened whipped cream, and add sprinkles or chocolate chips for a finishing touch.

Serve immediately, and enjoy as the whipped cream melts into the coffee drink.

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

Irish Coffee is great for a crowd. Whether you’re hosting a St. Patrick’s Day gathering or are mixing up some of these coffee cocktails for a post-Christmas dinner, this mixed drink is comforting, well-known and well-loved.

If you’re going to serve this in an entertaining setting, here are some ideas about making this Irish Coffee recipe the best it can be while also keeping it as simple as possible on you.

  • Have your Irish Coffee ingredients ready. I always like to take stock and ensure I’ve got my ingredients in my fridge/pantry before hosting people. You should, too! 
  • Make your whipped cream in advance. It keeps in the fridge in an airtight container, and if you can make this earlier in the day, that’s one less thing to do while guests are milling around in your kitchen waiting for the coffee to brew.
  • Brew the biggest pot of coffee you can… but also take into account if your guests will want their coffee caffeinated or not.If you’ve got guests who want both, brew separate pots and keep one in a carafe to keep it warm.
  • Make it into an Irish Coffee bar. Print out this recipe, set out the ingredients and toppings, and let your guests make their own!
Close up of a coffee cocktail with whipped cream on top of it on a silver tray

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best whiskey for Irish coffee?

Whatever Irish whiskey you have is the best one to use. 😉 Jameson is a popular Irish whiskey, and many people use that one, but there are other brands.

How do you get the cream to float on an Irish coffee?

We’re using sweetened whipped cream, so it floats better than softly whipped cream. Gently dollop it on top of the coffee so it doesn’t break the surface. Keep in mind that it will begin to melt into the coffee as it sits, and you can certainly stir it into your drink, too.

When should I drink Irish coffee?

Whenever you want! While this is traditionally a morning drink for a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day, you could also brew this at night as a nightcap. My family has been known to serve this once kids are in bed and adults are sitting around chatting.

Three Irish Coffee drinks with whipped cream, chocolate and green sprinkles on a silver tray

Tips for making the best Irish Coffee

  • Use fresh coffee. If you brewed some this morning and it’s gotten cold in the pot, brew a fresh pot. This makes a difference.
  • Make a variation! Serve it on ice instead of warm to give it a fun twist! Transform it into Baileys Coffee by using Irish Cream instead of Irish whiskey.
  • Decaf or caffeinated coffee is OK in this recipe! While I love my daily coffee, I can’t drink anything but decaf after noon.
  • Sweeten your coffee to taste. If this drink is too bitter with just 1 teaspoon of sugar, add another to make it work for your tastebuds!
  • Make your own whipped cream. It doesn’t take much time, and the flavor and texture are so much better than the kind you’d get from a tub or a spray bottle.
Three Irish Coffees sit on a silver tray, garnished with whipped cream, chocolate and green sprinkles
Yield: 1 drink

Irish Coffee

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A classic cocktail, Irish Coffee is easy and delicious to serve at home. Made with just four ingredients—coffee, Irish whiskey sugar and sweetened whipped cream—this coffee cocktail is perfect for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 5 oz. brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, to taste
  • 1 ½ oz. Irish whiskey
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for topping
  • Chocolate shavings or chips, for topping
  • Sprinkles, for topping

Instructions

  1. Brew your coffee as you normally would.
  2. Measure sugar into your Irish coffee glass/mug.
  3. Pour the coffee on top of the sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add additional sugar, if necessary.
  4. Pour in the Irish whiskey, and stir.
  5. Top with the sweetened whipped cream.
  6. Add chocolate shavings, chocolate chips or sprinkles for garnish, and enjoy immediately.

Notes

Tips for making the best Irish Coffee

  • Use fresh coffee. If you brewed some this morning and it’s gotten cold in the pot, brew a fresh pot. This makes a difference.
  • Decaf or caffeinated coffee is OK in this recipe! While I love my daily coffee, I can’t drink anything but decaf after noon.
  • Sweeten your coffee to taste. If this drink is too bitter with just 1 teaspoon of sugar, add another to make it work for your tastebuds!
  • Make your own whipped cream. It doesn’t take much time, and the flavor and texture are so much better than the kind you’d get from a tub or a bottle. (If you're vegan or can't have dairy products, make the whipped cream with chilled canned coconut cream.)
  • Make a variation. You could add a shot of Irish Cream to make this coffee cocktail extra creamy. (You could also swap the Irish whiskey for the Irish cream and turn it into Baileys Coffee. Serve it on ice for an ICED Irish Coffee!

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1 drink

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 157mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 3g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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