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How to make the best Irish coffee. This easy cocktail has only 4 simple ingredients is a perfect after dinner drink. Make this drink for St. Patrick’s Day or as a cozy winter drink during the holidays.

Irish Coffee Topped with cream in a glass goblet.

The Story of the Irish Coffee

Although there are a few versions of the origin story of Irish Coffee, the one most often told is that it was invented by Joe Sheridan, head chef at the restaurant at Foynes Airbase Flying Boat terminal in County Limerick, Ireland. Later, Stanton Delaplane, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, convinced the bartender at Buena Vista Restaurant in San Francisco to recreate it. Now Buena Vista is famous for serving Irish Coffee and serve up to 2000 a day!

Pouring sugar into an Irish Coffee

What kind of glass should be used for Irish Coffee?

Although most restaurants serve Irish Coffee in a glass mug, the Buena Vista Restaurant has always uses a small, 6 ounce Libbey Goblet. It is a good idea to use a smaller glass to keep the flavors in balance, and a clear glass will show off the beautiful contrast of dark coffee and a layer of floating cream.

Pouring whiskey into an Irish coffee

What are the ingredients for Irish Coffee?

  • coffee
  • Irish Whiskey
  • sugar – or sugar cubes
  • heavy whipping cream

How to make whipped cream

One of the delightful parts of this drink is the cool and rich unsweetened whipped cream that floats on top of the coffee. The drink is not meant to be mixed, but to drink the sweet, hot coffee through the cream, creating a lovely contrast. Making unsweetened whipped cream couldn’t be easier. You just need some heavy cream. You can whip it with a whisk by hand, shake it in a mason jar fitted tightly with a lid, or use an eclectic hand mixer. Just whip the cream until it is thick but still pourable.

Classic Irish Coffee in a 6 ounce Libbey glass.

How to make Irish coffee

Making a great Irish coffee isn’t difficult, you just need hot coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey and heavy cream. The key is to lightly whip the cream so that it is thick but not as thick as regular whipped cream. You can do this using a whisk by hand, shaking it in a jar or using an electric hand mixer.

  • Add about 4 ounces of hot strong coffee to a 6 ounce glass. Add two sugar cubes or two teaspoons of granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and mix it with the coffee.
  • Pour one ounce of Irish whiskey into the coffee.
  • Add the cream to a medium bowl and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer until it is thick but still pourable. Carefully pour the cream on top of the coffee and serve.

More whiskey cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day

More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

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Irish Coffee

Prep 5 minutes
Servings 1 serving


  • 4 ounces strong coffee
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ounce Irish Whiskey
  • 3 TBSP heavy whipping cream


  • Pour hot coffee into a 6 ounce glass. Add two teaspoons of sugar and stir to mix.
  • Add one ounce of Irish whiskey.
  • In a medium bowl, add the very cold cream. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, whip the cream until it is starting to get thicker. You don't want it to become fully whipped cream, stop before you get to soft peaks. It should be thick but still pourable.
  • Pour the cream on top of the coffee. Serve.


The Buena Vista Restaurant uses sugar cubes.  Use two sugar cubes if you have them, otherwise using two teaspoons of granulated sugar is fine. 


Serving: 1drink | Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 99mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 662IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American, Irish
Did you like this recipe?Please comment, rate and share! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @foxandbriar AND #foxandbriar so I can see what you made!

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Hello! I’m Meghan.

I am so glad that you are here! I am the recipe developer, photographer, and writer here at my blog Fox and Briar. I am a passionate, self-taught home cook and believe that most things are better homemade and that good food doesn’t need to be complicated.

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1 Comment

  1. The Irish coffee recipe is a classic and easy-to-make after-dinner drink. I love how the unsweetened whipped cream sits on top of the coffee, creating a beautiful contrast. The story behind the origin of Irish coffee is interesting and makes me appreciate the drink even more. Using a small glass, like the 6 ounce Libbey Goblet, is a great tip to keep the flavors balanced. I can’t wait to make this cozy winter drink during the holidays.