Irish Coffee

A lot of times, when reading about breakthroughs or inventions, it is usually of mundane or unexpected circumstances, just like the story behind the origins of the Irish coffee. It is difficult to imagine how the drink would have been crafted if it weren’t for that terrible cold winter night in 1943 that forced a flight back.

Becoming the world’s first flavored coffee, the Irish coffee slowly became popular across the globe. Different versions were made, although its original recipe is easy for anyone eager enough to master the art of crafting one.

What is Irish Coffee?

Irish Coffee

History and Origins

Foynes Airport, the main port for refueling aeroplanes or flying boats in Europe, is a major stopover for Hollywood stars and politicians. It was in the terminal building restaurant where the young chef Joe Sheridan was working one winter night in the 1940s when he was inspired to craft the popular Irish coffee to help keep travelers warm.

When Foynes port closed, both the coffee shop and the restaurant had to relocate to Shannon International Airport. It was there where Irish coffee was served as welcome drinks for passengers.

Irish Coffee Facts You Must Know

  • Celebrated every 25th of January each year, National Irish Coffee Day is observed with a delicious warm cup of Irish coffee.
  • Aside from completing the four types of food groups, namely caffeine, alcohol, fat, and sugar, Irish coffee can also help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and aid unclog arteries.
  • Contrary to the modern recipe, the original Irish coffee does not use cream that has been whipped.
  • As there is a large population of Irishmen in San Francisco, Buena Vista Café not only holds the Guinness record for largest Irish coffee shop but is also said to have been the first to debut Irish coffee in the United States.

What Makes Irish Coffee Unique?

Typically served in coffee mugs, Irish coffee may look plain and simple, but with a hint of whiskey and rich foam of thickened whipped cream, it could balance out the bitterness of coffee and tame the whiskey. The secret, however, to what makes it unique is the use of instant coffee. You heard it right - the one you can casually get at your local grocery.

Another is trying to get the whipped cream to stay afloat on top, which can take a while to master, so ensure that your coffee is very hot while the cream should not be too thickly whipped and very cold. All that said, it is not just about pouring whiskey into your coffee. You must craft it carefully to bring out its flavor and delight your senses.

Variations of Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee Recipe

The Classic

This delicious iconic beverage is a perfect combination of freshly brewed coffee, Irish whiskey, and whipping cream. Warm mugs first by letting the hot water sit before emptying. This allows your drink to stay warm for a longer period. Thoroughly dissolve one to two teaspoons of sugar before adding whiskey to counter the coffee’s bitterness with its sweetness. Finally, slowly pour whipped cream over a warm spoon’s back to form a foamed topping.

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

A recreation of the original Irish cocktail, note that before beginning the process, brew coffee and age cream 2 days before whipping. Pre-heat glass with hot water, empty once it becomes warm, and pour coffee until 3/4 full into a glass with cubed ice.

Stir ingredients well until sugar dissolves completely. Add 45ml of whiskey, Tullamore Dew to be precise, to the coffee. Be sure not to stir. Top off with whipped cream gently with a spoon to keep afloat the coffee-whiskey mixture.

Baileys Irish Coffee

Combine all ingredients: Baileys Original Irish Cream, brewed coffee, and Irish whiskey into a tall glass. Add one teaspoon of sugar or to taste, if you prefer a sweeter flavor. Top Irish coffee with garnish (either chocolate shavings or whipping cream) before serving.

Pour Over Irish Coffee

This method, as its name suggests, is simply pouring water and Irish whiskey over a preheated glass with coffee. Add a few bits of Bitterman’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters or whipped cream to finish the drink.

Health Benefits of Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee Variations

Considered to be unhealthy, mixing both alcohol and coffee into one drink would be a terrible idea to some. Well, not in this case since Irish coffee may surprisingly offer a variety of health benefits. To start, one of its biggest advantages is reducing the risk of heart disease through moderate alcohol consumption to improve blood circulation. Aside from that, studies show that coffee can lower the possibility of developing Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, liver disease, and stroke.

How to Make a Classic Irish Coffee

2 teaspoons of white or brown sugar
45ml Irish whiskey
Instant coffee
Lightly whipped cream

Preparation: A perfect drink to keep you warm during winter, this Classic Irish drink is simple to make. All you need is coffee, whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream. Follow the steps to try out this creamy and delicious drink.

First, preheat the glass with hot water before pouring it out. Fill the glass with hot coffee, about 3/4 full, then add sugar cubes. Stir ingredients well, making sure that sugar dissolves thoroughly. Add Irish whiskey to enhance the taste. Lastly, lightly top off with whipped cream using the spoon’s back. To add your unique taste, sprinkle cocoa powder or cinnamon on top of the cream. Best served hot.


With the continuous rise in popularity of coffee culture among European countries, specifically in Ireland, not only has it become a part of their daily life but also a great alternative for drinking hot chocolate or tea during winter. Nevertheless, traditional pubs and restaurants are being replaced with coffee shops as a top place for socializing, even though tea is still the number one choice of drink in Ireland.

It may not be the first alcohol coffee-based cocktail mix, but Irish coffee has been gaining popularity among Irish pubs. With the simplicity of its ingredients, you can easily try to make it at home following the given recipe.

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