International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Irish Coffee

An Irish coffee at the Buena Vista in San Francisco

(Irish whiskey, coffee and cream cocktail)

Image by summer park

Average: 5 (1 vote)

While coffee cocktails have been around for some time, the Irish coffee is said to have been invented in the 1940s on a cold winter's night at an Irish airport. A visiting American brought the recipe back to the United States, where a team perfected it at the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco.

1 serving


  • Hot coffee -- 1/2 cup (4 ounces)
  • Irish whiskey -- 1/4 cup (2 ounces)
  • Brown sugar -- 1 to 2 teaspoons
  • Heavy cream, beaten until just frothy -- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces)


  1. Fill a clear glass mug with hot water to warm it up. Pour out the hot water and add the hot coffee to the warmed mug. Stir in the whiskey and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Carefully pour the heavy cream over a spoon onto the top of the coffee so that a layer of cream floats on top of the coffee.
  3. Serve hot — without a straw or stirrer — and drink the coffee through the layer of cream.

Irish Coffee Variations

  • Some recipes use whipped cream instead, but the original recipe does not. Cream that is a few days old will be more likely to float than very fresh cream.


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