Why, hello there, and happy St. Patrick’s Day to ya! Today, Chris is bringing you a classic whiskey cocktail with a black coffee base. It’s super simple to make and is guaranteed to warm your insides– either from the Irish whiskey or the strong coffee… or both.

Pouring an after dinner drink of Irish coffee into an Irish coffee mug

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This coffee cocktail is like most mixed drinks in that we have a fuzzy record of its origin. The most common tale is that it was created in 1943 at the Foynes Port airport in Ireland by chef Joe Sheridan– possibly for a plane full of passengers headed to New York who had to turn around back to Ireland due to weather. 

Although this is the most accepted and repeated story, the Irish Coffee could have actually been created in 1940 at the Dolphin Bar in Dublin. However, what is almost certainly not true is that it was created in San Francisco, despite that city being closely associated with the cocktail.

That connection is (reportedly) due to Joe Sheridan coming out to San Francisco to help the SF bar, Buena Vista, create their own version of this classic cocktail ni 1952– which really launched the popularity of the drink. 


5-7 oz hot coffee with 2 ounces Irish whiskey and a brown sugar syrup for an after dinner cocktail

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Well, this classic coffee drink has hot coffee, Irish whiskey, Demerara simple syrup, and whipped cream – really, what more could you ask for? It’s like breakfast, dessert, and happy hour all at once.

Note: The flavor of this drink is really going to depend on your choice of coffee. Brazilian coffee is going to taste different than Jamaican coffee is going to taste different than Mexican coffee is going to taste different than Starbucks dark roast coffee. Ya know what I mean?

The fun thing is that there’s a lot of room to play with flavor, depending on the type of coffee you brew. 


Check out the video to see Chris make his version of an Irish Coffee cocktail and hear him talk about some modifications you can apply to this cocktail.




While it isn’t our favorite method, it’s really common to see Irish coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur or even coffee with cream (regular or heavy cream, depending on your preference) and a shot of whiskey. Either option offers a delicious coffee drink, so we recommend trying them. All the versions, please!


Irish Coffee with whipped cream

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There are countless variations of this cocktail, so here are some other suggestions to get you started: 

  • Are you a major coffee lover? Another popular option is a blend of whiskey, Kahlúa coffee liqueur, and a cup of coffee black for an extra punch of coffee flavor. 
  • Of course, you can also opt to use decaffeinated coffee if you want to get to bed on time and need to avoid caffeine at night. The great thing about this change is that it doesn’t really affect the other flavors, and you can combine decaf coffee with any of the other options here.
  • And although this is traditionally a hot coffee cocktail, could you make it with cold brew coffee? Why, sure! 
  • Don’t have Demerara sugar? You can use granulated sugar (it’ll be missing that caramel note but will still be yummy) or brown sugar for your simple syrup instead. There’s no one way to make this drink, so do what works for you.
  • Use agave nectar or maple syrup as the sweetener instead.
  • Add a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon for a little extra flavor.
  • Switch out the base spirit instead of sticking with Irish whiskey.
  • Try various types of coffee for different flavor profiles. 
  • Avoiding alcohol? Use a non-alcoholic spirit as a substitute for whiskey, cutting back on the simple syrup a little to accommodate for the additional sweetness. 
  • Other coffee cocktail variations: Keoke Coffee (crème de cacao, brandy, coffee, Kahlúa), Spanish Coffee (rum, Kahlúa, triple sec, coffee, torched sugar rim), Mexican Coffee (subbing in tequila), and the Nutty Irishman (equal parts Bailey’s and Frangelico over ice)
  • Chris’ favorite variation: Add Amari into the cocktail for a bitter spice that really changes the drink!


Bartender holding a coffee mug of Jameson Irish Whiskey, 6 ounces hot coffee, and simple syrup for an alcohol-infused coffee drink; on the bar is a coffee pot

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OK, now that you’ve watched the video and read about all the ways you can make this delicious drink, go turn on your coffee maker, grab the recipe below, and let us know in the comments which iteration is your favorite. Cheers!



2 oz Irish coffee 




Irish Coffee with whipped cream

Irish Coffee

A simple, classic Irish Coffee recipe with fresh whipped cream.
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  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Demerara Syrup
  • ~4 oz Freshly Brewed Coffee To top
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream For topping/garnish


  • Heat your glass with hot water for 10-15 seconds; dump the water.
  • Build the cocktail into a coffee cocktail mug, and stir until mixed together.
  • Whisk up heavy whipping cream in your cocktail shaker with a whisk or the coil on your Hawthorne strainer; shake (or whisk) the cream in shaker with the coil.
  •  Use a bar spoon to float the freshly-whipped cream on top of the cocktail.