Recipe for Perfect Irish Coffee

Updated on June 27, 2020
viking305 profile image

L.M. Reid is an Irish writer who has published many recipe articles. She has a keen interest in creating delicious recipes and dinner ideas.

Perfect Irish Coffee Recipe
Perfect Irish Coffee Recipe | Source

How to Make The Perfect Creamy 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.

After we look at the recipe, I'll explain the fascinating history of how this drink was created.


  • 1 measure Jameson’s Irish Whiskey
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (brown or white)
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
Ingredients to make an Irish coffee
Ingredients to make an Irish coffee | Source


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.

Add one measure of Jameson’s Irish whiskey to each glass.
Add one measure of Jameson’s Irish whiskey to each glass. | Source
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee to each glass.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee to each glass. | Source
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. | Source

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.

How to Make an Irish coffee
How to Make an Irish coffee | Source

History of Irish Coffee

It was 1943 when the owner of Foyne's Restaurant in the terminal building at the airbase at Foyne's 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 Air Boat that had left that evening for Canada and New York was returning because of bad weather.

Foyne's Port

Foyne's 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.

An Air Boat in Limerick
An Air Boat in Limerick | Source

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 ten years 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 10th 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.

Irish Coffee

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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.


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    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      Garlic Angel you should give it a go because making Irish Coffee is very easy and tastes great. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment

    • Garlic Angel profile image


      7 years ago from Dublin

      Very nice. I love Irish Coffee. Very good instructions on making them at home I must give it a go. Thank you for sharing viking305. Voted up

      Garlic Angel

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Brett this drink is a really nice way to use coffee and whiskey. Thanks for the share and votes

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Suzie Irish coffee is easy to make but a lot of staff in pubs seem to do it wrong. Yes Calypso is nice too. Thanks for sharing and votes

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      8 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Congrats on a great step by step for correct Irish coffee!! I have had it made wrong so many times abroad, most common mistakes are the cream and spoon! Great photos showing exact method. Irish coffee is the only way i drink whiskey and as much as i enjoy after a meal, i also prefer Calypso with Tia maria or enjoy a Bailey's coffee.Thanks for sharing! Voting up and sharing .

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      8 years ago from Asia

      Bookmarked, as I've always wanted to try this. However, if it is in the evening, I will have to go for decaf, to avoid being awake until the wee hours.

      Shared, up and awesome.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      I love excuses to use cream too. Irish Coffee is one of the nicer ways to use whiskey as a hot drink to relax with.

      Thanks for the votes too

    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Ooooh yum! I love Irish coffee even in summer! My husband just picked up some devon cream (he's British and addicted to using it on whatever works) so now we have another great reason to whip some up :) Rated 5 stars. Thanks!

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Yes Teredrade you can substitute the instant coffee with espresso. If you want to experiment even more with this drink recipe you can substitute the whiskey with Tia Maria and this is called a Calypso. Or add brandy instead of whiskey and you have a French Coffee. My personal favourite is a Calypso

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great recipe, can the hot water and instant coffee be substituted with espresso?

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Yes making Irish coffee at home is very easy as you can see from the video. It does make a very nice hot alcoholic drink at night.

      vespawoolf I am delighted you enjoyed your visit to Ireland and got to tour the Jameson Distillery Visitors Centre. Now you can make the Irish coffee yourself and and re live some nice memories.

      Mhatter99 thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this detailed recipe :))

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      8 years ago from Peru, South America

      These are great step-by-step instructions for making Irish coffee! We toured the Jameson distillery while in Northern Ireland, and the Irish family we stayed with prepared the authentic coffee for us. This brings back memories! Now we know how to make it ourselves. : )


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