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Recipe for the Best Creamy Irish Coffee

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L.M.Reid creates delicious recipes and gives step-by-step instructions with photos so you can learn how to make them at home.

Learn how to make this creamy Irish coffee

Learn how to make this creamy Irish coffee

Traditional Irish Coffee

This traditional Irish drink recipe contains whiskey, coffee, sugar and cream. I have included my own photos and a video with step-by-step instructions so that you can prepare this deliciously creamy beverage.


  • 1 measure Jameson’s Irish whiskey
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (brown or white)
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream


Step 1

  1. Prepare the glasses by warming them with lukewarm water before you do anything else.

Step 2

Always use whipping cream, Double cream in Ireland. Single cream will sink to the bottom of the glass.

  1. Take a small empty water bottle.
  2. Add the cream to fit a third of the bottle.
  3. Close tightly.
  4. Shake strongly for approximately 30 seconds.
  5. Leave aside.

Step 3

  1. Empty the water from the glasses.
  2. Add the 2 teaspoons of sugar (white or brown) to each glass.
  3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee to each glass.
  4. Add 1 measure of Jameson’s Irish whiskey to each glass.

Step 4

  1. Boil the water again.
  2. Add the boiling water to one glass.
  3. Stir in the water and ingredients very well.
  4. Do the same for each glass.

Step 5

  1. Use a clean spoon for this important part of the recipe.
  2. Give the bottle that contains the cream a further 10-second vigorous shake.
  3. Hold the spoon over the glass at a slight angle.
  4. Slowly pour the cream onto the spoon.
  5. Let the cream fall off the spoon into the glass and it will not sink.
Slowly pour the cream onto the slightly angled spoon. Let the cream fall off the spoon into the glass and it will not sink.

Slowly pour the cream onto the slightly angled spoon. Let the cream fall off the spoon into the glass and it will not sink.

Optional Extras

You can add either a sprinkle of coffee granules, cinnamon or cocoa powder to the cream once the drink is made. This will give a nice visual effect but also add a unique flavour to your own homemade Irish coffee.

History of Irish Coffee

It was 1943 when the owner of Foynes Restaurant in the terminal building at the airbase at Foynes port was asked to reopen his doors.

Aeroplanes known as flying boats landed here on their way to America. Joe Sheriden was the Irish chef who came into work that night when word the airboat that had left that evening for Canada and New York was returning because of bad weather.

Foynes Port

Foynes port in Limerick Ireland opened in 1937. This was only a stopover for the refueling of the plane and where passengers could have a meal and drink at the restaurant. Many politicians and Hollywood stars would stop off at Foynes port as the boat planes refueled on their way home to the USA.

So Joe decided to make the weary passengers a warm drink. He made strong coffee then added some Irish whiskey and brown sugar. The passengers loved it and asked what kind of coffee they were drinking. Some speculated it was Brazilian coffee. Joe told then no, it was Irish coffee.

A few weeks later he had perfected the drink by adding partially whipped cream which he expertly managed to add to the top of the hot whiskey and coffee. He brought it into the office of the owner of the restaurant, Brendan O’Regan and it was decided to add it to the menu.

So that is how Irish coffee was invented by Joe Sheridan and got its name.

Joe Sheridan perfected the recipe for Irish coffee.

Joe Sheridan perfected the recipe for Irish coffee.

Shannon International Airport

Foynes port closed when the new airport for land planes opened in 1945 just across the River Shannon estuary. This was called Shannon International Airport. The restaurant and coffee shop also relocated there so the chef who invented Irish coffee went to work at Shannon Airport too.

Stanton Delaplane

A writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanton Delaplane, was one of those passengers later in 1952. While there, he had an Irish coffee drink. He liked it so much that when he arrived back in America he set about re-creating it.

San Francisco

Delaplane went to the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco. He and the owner, Joe Koeppler, spent many hours trying to recreate the perfect Irish drink. Folklore has many stories of the two men getting drunk after unsuccessfully trying to perfect it. One time Delaplane was so unsteady on his feet it is said he nearly passed out on the cable car tracks on his way home.

They eventually gave up trying to get the cream to float on the top of the Irish Coffee. So Joe Koeppler traveled back to Limerick to get a personal lesson from Joe Sheriden. Irish coffee was first served to customers in America at the Buena Vista in Sans Francisco on 10 November 1952.

Because Stanton Delaplane wrote many articles in the San Francisco Chronicle about travelling and mentioned Irish coffee a lot it was down to him that it became so popular in the US. Joe Sheridan was offered a job at Buena Vista so emigrated to America.

The history of this airboat in Limerick, Ireland, where Irish coffee was invented

The history of this airboat in Limerick, Ireland, where Irish coffee was invented

Jameson Distillery Museum

There is an excellent visitor’s centre in Dublin, Ireland, that tells the story of the Jameson Distillery and this Irish whiskey. I have been to the centre myself and it is well worth a visit if you are in the country.

Irish coffee

Irish coffee

What do you think of my recipe for Irish coffee?