How to Make the Perfect Irish Coffee

a cup of irish coffee

Irish coffee is one of those drinks that often gets a bad rap, but when done right, it’s actually quite delicious. I mean, who doesn’t love a nutty, slightly bitter coffee flavour mixed with caramelly sugar and fiery whiskey? And let’s not forget that cool, whipped layer of cream on top.

Unfortunately, not all Irish coffees are created equal. Mediocre coffee, cheap whiskey, and bland cream are a recipe for disaster. But with the right ingredients and technique, you can make a perfectly balanced Irish coffee at home – or simply visit our Irish pub. 

The Origins of the Irish Coffee

Believe it or not, the origin of the Irish coffee is well-documented. It was actually created in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, a chef working at Foynes Port in Limerick. The drink was invented to warm up cold and weary passengers who were traveling on a transatlantic flying boat that was forced to return to Ireland due to bad weather. According to legend, when the passengers asked if the coffee they were drinking was Brazilian, Sheridan replied, “No, it’s Irish coffee.” The name stuck, and the drink became an instant hit.

It’s amazing to think that a drink created for a group of stranded travellers would go on to become such a beloved drink around the world. The Irish coffee’s popularity grew quickly and soon became a staple in Irish pubs and bars. It wasn’t long before the drink made its way across the pond to the United States, where it found a new group of fans. 

The Buena Vista Cafe is actually credited with bringing Irish coffee to the United States. It was in the 1950s when the owner of the cafe and San Francisco Chronicle travel writer Stanton Delaplane collaborated to create the perfect recipe. Delaplane had tasted the drink during his travels and was so impressed that he wanted to bring it back to the United States. They tried countless combinations until they finally landed on the one that they still make today. The Buena Vista Cafe still serves Irish coffees to this day, and they claim to sell over 2,000 of them on busy days!

So, How Do You Make a Killer Irish Coffee? 

Now, back to the important stuff. First, start with a good quality coffee. Filter coffee works best, as espresso or Americano coffee can be overpowering. Add in brown sugar to sweeten the drink, making sure to melt it in a pan to avoid diluting the drink further. Finally, add a generous pour of Irish whiskey to really bring out the flavours.

Now comes the tricky part – the cream. The key to getting the cream to float on top is to ensure the coffee is very hot and the cream is very cold. Whip the cream until it has just started to thicken and form ribbons underneath the whisk, and then pour it over the back of a spoon onto the coffee. Grate a little nutmeg over the top, and there you have it – the perfect Irish coffee.

The Perfect Irish Coffee Recipe

– 50ml cold double or whipping cream
– 2 tbsp soft brown muscovado
– 50ml whiskey, preferably Irish
– 150ml-200ml freshly brewed filter coffee
– Nutmeg, to top

And if all that sounds like too much work, then why not visit us? 

Our family-run pub is located in the heart of Dublin, just off historic O’Connell Street. We pride ourselves on our warm and friendly atmosphere, where you can relax and enjoy a delicious Irish coffee. Note that we take our Irish coffee seriously. We use the Jameson powers gold label, and it only costs €5.50. So, next time you’re in the mood for a warm, cosy drink, try Irish coffee. Sláinte!