What Is Irish Coffee? (All About Whiskey Flavored Coffee)

Last Updated on February 6, 2022 by John Moretti

Who doesn’t love a fresh cup of coffee in the morning? But how about people who crave a little something extra to start their day? What if I told you there’s a way you can get the best of both worlds in one cup? 

If you’re amazed, then you’re not alone. This article is all about the goodness of whiskey-flavored coffee, aka Irish Coffee. Yes, you heard it right. Now there’s a way to get a wake-up call from a cup of coffee and whiskey at once.

Whiskey-flavored coffee or Irish coffee is the perfect mix of whiskey and caffeine, where Irish whiskey, hot coffee, and sugar are the foundation of this drink.

Millions across the globe adore this coffee drink. Of course, brewing a great cup of coffee involves more than simply pouring alcohol into a cup. That’s why this article will cover everything from the proportions of various ingredients and the proper method of preparation to the best way of serving your whiskey coffee. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Irish coffee.

What Is Irish Coffee?

The Origins of Whiskey-Flavored Coffee

Whiskey-flavored coffee isn’t their go-to drink at the cafe for most people. In fact, if you’ve only just heard about this drink, it may surprise you to know it even exists. But the truth is that there’s a massive market for people who want the sharp kick of caffeine with the smooth flavor of the whiskey. 

You might know whiskey-flavored coffee as Irish coffee. Some might even know it as the Gaelic coffee. But whatever name you’re familiar with, Irish coffee became famous over 100 years ago. 

First served in Viennese coffee houses, it has changed a lot and exists in many variations worldwide.

What Ingredients Do You Need for Irish Coffee?

Irish Coffee

While variations exist from cafe to cafe, the essential ingredients remain the same. Irish whiskey, hot coffee, and sugar are the foundation of Gaelic coffee. People usually top it off with cream, although this, of course, is optional. What really sets the tone is the method you follow while preparing the brew.

All it takes to make Irish coffee are these three basic ingredients. Get these right, and you’ll have yourself the most satisfying serving of Irish coffee.

1. Hot Coffee


If you want to brew a delicious cup of coffee, you have to start with the coffee bean. Getting your espresso right is the key to making whiskey-flavored coffee. In fact, any good cup of coffee starts with the bean.

Our advice is definitely to go with the roasted Arabica. These coffee beans have a more complex flavor profile, with a bold aroma and a sweetness that cuts through the richness of the brew. If you’re grinding your coffee yourself, make sure you do it in small batches. While freshly ground coffee is perfect for any coffee drink, pre-ground works just as well.

And lastly, make sure you’re serving freshly prepared coffee. Nothing ruins the mood more than stale and cold coffee.

2. Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey

Have we mentioned how important alcohol is for this drink? It’s just as important as the coffee you use, if not more. While you can use any brand of whiskey you have lying around the house, using a smooth, high-quality whiskey will really bring out the best in this coffee drink.

Irish coffee does have exceptionally high standards. That’s probably why it stood among the favorite cocktails for big Hollywood stars like the gorgeous Marilyn Monroe.

3. Sugar


Also, a very important ingredient of an excellent Irish coffee is sugar. The coffee should be the perfect amount of sweet. Since whiskey and coffee are both pretty bitter, it’s important to add a little bit of sweetness to your coffee.

You can use white sugar or brown sugar. If you don’t want to use sugar, you can also use other sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Just make sure you’re not using too much or too little.

4. Cream

Irish Whiskey

A beautiful cup of Irish coffee can be identified from afar from the thick layer of cream you see on top of the mug. Some people can’t imagine Irish coffee without cream, and for some is very optional. This contrast between light-colored cream and dark-colored coffee makes the drink even more appealing.

If you choose to use cream, you should use a cream that is smooth, no-lumpy and sits on top of the drink undisturbed. It’s also important that the cream forms a layer on top of the coffee and that layer stays intact. If it starts dissolving within the first few minutes, then the charm of the coffee is half gone.

5. Toppings (Optional)

Irish Coffee Close-up

The final ingredient you need to make a banging mug of Irish coffee is some delicious toppings. 

Some popular favorites include caramel syrup, which compliments the flavor of the coffee and elevates your drink to a whole new level. You can even try chocolate, nuts, or any other toppings you like.

How To Make A Whiskey-Flavored or Irish Coffee?

Making Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a relatively easy concoction to make. It doesn’t require a lot of complicated ingredients or even too much time. While it may seem technical at first, you’ll soon get the hang of these preparation elements.

It’s the little aspects like service and design that make the final impact of the coffee so spectacular. Once you know what you need and shop for quality items, you can start playing around till you find the perfect mix. So let’s begin.

1. Serving Size

Irish coffee is best served in an Irish mug. A single serving of this glass mug holds around 200g of the cocktail. So compared to a normal mug of coffee, the serving size of Irish Coffee is pretty massive. But trust me, you won’t be complaining.

2. Preparation Time

Irish coffee doesn’t require a lot of prep. If anything, its low-maintenance approach makes it perfect for when you have guests over. 

You can bring the evening to a smooth end with the perfect helping of Irish coffee. Take your leave for 5 minutes and reappear with a phenomenal cocktail that will dazzle your guests.

3. Irish Coffee Recipe

Irish Coffee Recipe

Ingredients for 1 serving:

All you need is the following ingredients, and you’ll have yourself a mean cup of Irish coffee.

  1. Double cream around 2 tablespoons
  2. 150ml of freshly brewed black coffee
  3. 50ml of Irish whiskey
  4. 1½ teaspoon of brown sugar or another sweetener
  5. Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  6. Caramel/chocolate syrup toppings (optional)

Method of Preparation:

The good news is that there is more than one method of preparing a good serving of Irish coffee. The method I’ve highlighted here is among the easiest ones.

In essence, Irish coffee is basically a whiskey drink that has been infused with coffee. Just follow along with these easy steps, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

  1. Take your double cream in a bowl and start whipping it. Make sure you don’t whip it too much. You just need to whip it lightly to make sure it sits comfortably on top of your drink.
  1. Prepare a fresh batch of black coffee. Adjust the strength of the brew to meet your preferences. Bear in mind that the coffee will be added to the whiskey in the end. Since whiskey itself is a little bitter, you don’t want to end up with an undrinkable bitter brew.
  1. Add the prepared coffee to a mug. Pour in whiskey over the coffee.
  1. Add the sweetener to this mixture of liquids. Mix so that no residue remains.
  1. Pour the cream on top of the drink, making sure it floats. This layering is what gives the drink a beautiful appearance.
  1. As a final touch, top your drink with freshly grated nutmeg and a caramel or chocolate sauce. This step is optional. However, it does elevate the flavor of the coffee.

What is the Best Way to Serve Irish Coffee?

Irish Coffee

The traditional way of serving Irish coffee is by far the best way. Traditionally, whiskey-flavored coffee has been served in large, see-through glass mugs.

The main idea is to ensure that when you’re serving, you’re able to distinguish between the layer of coffee and cream. That’s also possible when you serve it in transparent glass. 

So, all things considered, you should ideally serve your Irish coffee in a transparent mug or glass.

Is Irish Coffee Served Hot or Cold?

Traditionally Irish coffee is served hot in a big, glass Irish mug. While some people may experiment by adding ice to their drink, this coffee is best served hot. 

Final Thoughts

Irish Coffee Ingredients

Whiskey-flavored coffee or Irish coffee is the unique crossover between alcohol and coffee, making it the best of both worlds. 

So, whether you like the taste of whiskey or want a safe way to consume some early morning alcohol, adding it to your coffee in this specialty drink lets you start off your day with a bang.

While it may not work for every occasion, whiskey-flavored coffee is a hit among most people. If you’re worried about finding this brew in your favorite coffee shop, there’s no need to worry. With a few simple steps, you can learn how to make the perfect cup of whiskey-flavored coffee at home.

Now that you know all there is about the basics of Irish coffee, you can prepare it just the way you like. The best part about this drink is how customizable it is. From the type of beans and the strength of the coffee to the brand of whiskey and the toppings you pick, it’s all up to you! 

So whip yourself a mug and enjoy your alcohol with your morning coffee right at home.