Irish Coffee Recipe – How To Make The Perfect Irish Coffee


Here’s the perfect Irish coffee recipe on those cold winter nights, and the real story behind who invented it.

Irish coffee was invented by Limerick chef Joseph Sheridan in 1942 to accommodate American visitors. Travelers arrived in western Ireland on a cold winter’s night, so Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee to warm them up, telling Americans they were being served Irish coffee.

San Francisco Chronicle travel writer Stanton Delaplane brought the recipe back to the United States after drinking Irish coffee at Shannon Airport. It was first served at the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco on November 10, 1952.

Irish coffee recipe


  • 1 ½ ounce of Irish whiskey
  • 5-7 oz of hot coffee or 2 shots of espresso
  • 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • fresh whipped cream


Slowly run hot water over a glass mug until it is at room temperature or warmer, then pat it dry (pouring hot coffee into a cold glass may cause it to crack).

Add the brown sugar to the cup.

Pour in the whiskey.

Add coffee or espresso, leaving room at the top for the whipped cream.

* To make cold Irish coffee, cool the sweet coffee before adding the whiskey.

Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Place the whipped cream over the drink.

Do not stir (the drink stays hot longer with the cream placed on it).

What better way to stay warm on those cold, dark nights ?!

* Originally published 2015. Updated November 2021.


About Jeffery L. Parker

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