Let’s warm up with classic Irish coffee! Made Irish coffee during my bartending days and thought it would be fun to rethink the recipe and make it from scratch.
Classic Irish coffees are made from just four ingredients: hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and whipped cream. In restaurants, Irish coffees are often mostly sweet and rich. I love making them at home because you can make them exactly how you like them.
Plus, Irish coffees are so easy to make. You don’t need bartending experience or special equipment to whip them up.
My favorite Irish coffees are made from freshly brewed coffee, high quality Irish whiskey and real whipped cream, which you can make in around 10 minutes if you have the time. Well worth the effort.
My only twist on the classic recipe is to use real maple syrup instead of sugar. Natural maple syrup flavors go wonderfully with coffee and whiskey and blend in perfectly because they are liquid. Easy!
How to make the best Irish coffee
Just start with the best ingredients!
- Brew your favorite coffee. Personally, I like the dark roast best in Irish coffee, but that’s my general preference. Freshly brewed coffee is the way to go!
- Add Irish whiskey to a mug. I am part of Jameson. It’s the brand we used to make Irish coffee with as bartenders. Bushmills is a cheaper option.
- Add a little maple syrup to sweeten it. Mind you, I like my coffee black in the morning, but a little sweetener takes the edge off the whiskey. You could use regular sugar or brown sugar instead, but maple syrup tastes better and blends in more easily.
- Add a splash of coffee and gently stir to mix. Then fill the cup with coffee, leaving about 1/2-inch on top for whipped cream.
- Top with whipped cream. Bonus points if you use real whipped cream. So good!
Irish coffee variations
I love these classic Irish coffees exactly as they were written, but here are some fun ways to change them up.
- Add a side dish. Sprinkle with a pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg. If you really feel like it, you can use a microplane (affiliate link) to try finely grated fresh nutmeg or chocolate shavings.
- Choose coffee without coffee for an after-dinner drink. That is, unless you can have coffee after 3 p.m. and still go to bed on time – in which case I greet you.
- Serve over ice. Pour cold or double strength coffee over a mug filled with ice. Add a half-and-half splash and skip the whipped cream.
- Make it extra creamy and rich. Replace some or all of the whiskey with Irish cream (like Bailey’s).
- Make it quick. Skip the homemade whipped cream and add a splash in half instead.
- Make it easy. If you’re looking for a less juicy drink, just relax with the whiskey.
- Make it alcohol free. Skip the whiskey and you have a delicious homemade coffee drink (nothing Irish, but hey it’s yummy).
Please let me know in the comments how you like this Irish coffee! I love to hear from you and I hope this cocktail will make your vacation a little more enjoyable.
If you are looking for more warming cocktails, Don’t miss my classic hot swirl and Wassail recipes.
More fun winter cocktails:
- Maple New York Sour and Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour
- Classic French 75 and Earl Gray French 75
- Vegan white Russian
- Spiced apple margaritas, blood orange margaritas, cranberry margaritas and pear nectar with reposado tequila
- The best mimosa and blood orange pomegranate sangria
Best Irish coffee
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 0 minutes
- Total time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: cocktail
- Method: Touched
- Kitchen: Irish
Learn How To Make The Best Irish Coffee! You will need hot coffee, Irish whiskey, maple syrup, and whipped cream for this easy cocktail recipe. Recipe as written makes a cocktail; They are easy to make in multiples!
- 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey (that is 3 tablespoons/ I used Jameson)
- 1 to 2 Teaspoon maple syrup, to taste
- 6 ounces hot freshly brewed coffee (that is ¾ cup/ use your favorite roast)
- Whipped cream for toppings
- Pour the whiskey and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup into a heat-resistant mug. Pour in a splash of coffee and stir with a spoon until the maple syrup dissolves in the coffee.
- Pour in the rest of the coffee. Try and stir in extra maple syrup if you want a sweeter drink.
- Top with whipped cream. If your whipped cream is lightly whipped (soft peaks) you may need to slowly pour it over a spoon to make it float on top. Serve while the drink is still warm!