The classic Irish coffee cocktail is always a winner for guests around the dinner table due to its creamy coffee flavour matched with a smooth Irish whiskey.
The Irish coffee was originally made in 1943 by Joe Sheridan (what a hero he is for doing so). Joe worked as a chef at an airbase for transatlantic flights, and one cold winter evening, 1 of the flights was delayed, which left passengers freezing in the Irish winter. Joe decided to whip them something up to help keep them warm and in high spirits throughout the night. As the story goes, there was a silence around the room as everyone finished their first sip, amazed by the warmth and taste of what Joe had created.
What other alcoholic drink has a story like that? A cocktail forged out of pure necessity to keep freezing guests warm and full of Irish whiskey. Even thinking about it now makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Little did Joe know, but he had just created a global phenomenon that travelled around the airport industry for decades after and is on every bar cocktail list.
Now I know you’re saying, enough is enough, how do I make an Irish coffee that even Joe Sheridan himself would be proud of? Well, lucky for you, here’ how:
- 2 tablespoons of double cream
- 150 freshly brewed black coffee
- 50ml Irish whiskey – don’t forget the Irish part
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Very gently whip the cream so it’s just about thickened and set this aside for later
- Pour your hot coffee into whatever you’re going to drink out of, I like using a big mug. Add the Irish whiskey and brown sugar and stir until you’re confident the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Gently float your cream on top and sprinkle your freshly grated nutmeg over the cream. Serve whilst your coffee is still hot.
After drinking the above, you’ll feel a warm, fuzzy sensation inside, this means the Irish coffee is working, just as Joe intended.
There wouldn’t be the talk of Irish coffee without spirits maker Baileys jumping on the wagon and creating something truly exceptional, and, slightly creamier.
The Baileys Irish coffee ingredients:
- 50ml of original Baileys Irish cream
- 1 cup of hot brewed coffee
- 25ml Irish whiskey
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Chocolate shavings(optional)
- Add brewed coffee, Baileys and Irish whiskey to your mug or glass and stir well.
- Add 1tspn of brown sugar and stir well until dissolved, this will add a sweeter taste.
- Add on desired amount of whipped cream and Chocolate shavings until you reach the taste you like.
So, there you have it, two versions of the classic Irish coffee that are bound to leaving you and your guests feeling warm and merry. You could be like me and drink Irish coffee even when it’s already warm outside, is that weird?
For best results, drink on a freezing winters day, snuggled up in a blanket, around the fire, with the TV on playing your favourite movie.
There are some common questions around making the perfect Irish coffee that I’ve found and answered below for you. This means everything you need relating to Irish coffee is in one place, convenient, I know.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best Irish whiskey to put in my Irish coffee?
I can’t speak for you on this one as everyone has a different palate when it comes to their whiskey taste. However, I have found the 5 most common Irish whiskeys used to set you on the right path.
- Jameson’s Irish Whiskey
- Bushmills Black Bush Whiskey
- Knappogue 12-year-old
- Green Spot Irish Whiskey
- Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
What is the best coffee to use for my Irish coffee?
Again, this entirely depends on your choice of coffee in general. I personally prefer a dark roast coffee with my Irish whiskey as I feel the flavours complement each other perfectly. The one essential part of what coffee you should use is that you must, and I mean must use a freshly brewed coffee for best results.
Can I use another type of whiskey for my Irish coffee?
I can’t believe you asked, after all the hard work Joe Sheridan did for you. You can’t take the Irish out of the Irish coffee, or you’ll be left with… coffee? Most Irish whiskeys have a distinct flavour profile that suits Irish coffee perfectly. For example, Jameson’s is smooth, sweet, and a touch spicy, which is ideal for Irish coffee.
Will I become Irish if I keep drinking Irish coffee?
I’m glad you asked, but sadly the answer is no. Researchers spent years conducting case studies, focus groups, and trials to find a clear answer to this question, and the results were precise. No amount of Irish coffee will change a human to be wholly Irish.
So, there you have it, 2 awesome recipes of Irish coffee, and all your serious questions answered. A drink with authentic history and heritage to Ireland and an almost necessity on a cold winter’s day, go and practice your Irish coffee now!