Caffeinated Cocktails: Irish Coffee

We’ve introduced you all to some stellar cocktails with our ongoing Caffeinated Cocktails series this past year. The Espresso Martini turned some heads with its elegance and delicious blend of flavors. The Coffee Colada took us to an island paradise of coffee and coconut. Siciliano introduced us to the magic of Italian digestifs, and we even got a taste of pop culture’s favorite coffee cocktail; the White Russian

Now, as the last few weeks of 2021 wind to a close, we decided to round out the year with one more exploration of caffeine and alcohol. For this particular article, we went with a drink that is perfect for this time of the year, when the holidays take over and there’s plenty of downtime with your family. 

Whenever we pour ourselves one of these, it conjures up images of quiet Sunday mornings and crackling fireplaces. It’s the perfect drink to warm you up from head to toe, and after a long week at work or a few hours of shoveling in the snow, there is almost no other drink we would rather have. The best part is, you don’t have to go to a bar for this drink; in fact, it’s almost always better if you make it at home! 

Without further ado, we bring you the coffee cocktail beloved by homebodies, introverts, and lovers of delicious beverages everywhere; Irish Coffee.

What Is Irish Coffee?

Before we can explore what’s in Irish Coffee, we should go over some of the histories of the drink! As far as history has determined thus far, the first Irish Coffee appeared in the 1950s. However, there are two central claims to the drink's original recipe.

One claim comes from the Irish town of Foynes, where the former head chef of the Foynes Airport Restaurant, Joe Sheridan, was said to have invented the cocktail. As the story goes, Sheridan was tasked with providing food and drink to warm up the passengers and crew of a grounded flight on a cold evening. In a moment of inspiration, he poured a splash of Irish whiskey into the coffee mugs that were being handed out, and the Irish Coffee was born. 

The second claim doesn’t come from the drink's creator but rather the person who made it a drink known around the world. On November 10, 1952, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, named Stanton Delaplane, introduced the US to Irish Coffee, a drink he had encountered in Ireland. Apparently, after trying to drink, Delaplane spent many hours perfecting his own Irish Coffee recipe until it was ready to share with the world. 

There may be further connections between the two or a more profound history waiting to be uncovered, but for the moment, we can thank these two people for introducing the world to the magic of Irish Coffee. 

Irish Coffee Ingredients

With the history lecture out of the way, we can get to the fun part of the article; the drink itself. Even though the original story only mentions hot coffee and Irish whiskey, modern-day Irish Coffee is slightly more complex. 

Today, if you went to a bar and ordered an Irish Coffee, it should contain:

  • Coffee
  • Brown sugar
  • Irish whiskey
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lightly whipped cream

The whiskey and sugar are integral parts of the drink, but don’t overlook the cream either! Thanks to the work of Stanton Delaplane’s recipe, Irish Coffee is now commonly defined by the layer of cream that sits on top of the drink. This often is the trickiest part of making an Irish Coffee because if done incorrectly, the cream will simply mix into the rest of the drink. 

Making the Drink

To create this recipe, you might have to make a couple of practice drinks, but once you master the technique of whipping and serving the cream, your Irish Coffee should be ready to go. You can, as always, experiment with the recipe and methods to your liking, and if you discover a particularly delicious variation, let us know! 

Before you make the coffee, you should consider the source of your whipped cream. We’ve gotten used to whipped cream in an aerosol can in the US, but for classic Irish coffees, the cream should be whipped by hand. Pour some heavy cream (the volume depends on how much whipped cream you want to make) into a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Whip the cream until soft peaks start to form or slightly longer if you want your whipped cream to be sturdier. 

Now that you have your cream, the real fun can begin! 

The Recipe

  • Preheat your mug with hot water and brew coffee using your preferred method. 
  • Pour your coffee into an 8-ounce cup, filling it up about ⅔rds of the way.
  • Add ½ Tablespoon of brown sugar and ½ Tablespoon of granulated sugar to the coffee, and mix.
  • Add one and ½ ounces of Irish Whiskey to your sweetened coffee, and stir thoroughly to combine. 
  • Finally, top the coffee with your cream by gently pouring the cream over the back of a spoon. If done correctly, the cream should form a “collar” on the top of the glass and not mix into the coffee itself. 
  • Enjoy! 

For some final decor, try adding small chocolate shavings to the top of the cream (gently)!

Cozy Coffee With Amora

You’re on your own for the whiskey, but to satisfy the caffeinated part of your cocktail, check us out here at Amora! We’re a coffee subscription service determined to bring great coffee to as many people as possible without the hassle of a middle man or grocery store. Every month you receive freshly roasted coffee beans right at your doorstep so that your coffee can take the next delicious step.

Check out our coffee and tea in our shop, or read more about the coffee world in our blog!


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