One of the most famous and beloved coffee-based cocktails of them all, the Irish coffee blends the deep, rich roasts of hot coffee with indulgent cream, sweet brown sugar, and classic Irish whiskey, producing a truly decadent and delicious drink that can be sipped and savored late into the evening.
History of the Irish Coffee
The history of this drink goes back more than a century. Back in the 1800s, variations of the formula were being served in coffee-loving nations across Europe like Vienna, Germany, and Denmark. The recipe wasn’t quite the same back then, but the idea of mixing coffee with spirits was well-known and widely-enjoyed.
The drink we know and enjoy today was most likely introduced around the 1950s. One story suggests that Joe Sheridan, a restaurant chef in County Limerick, Ireland, was the drink’s creator, pouring whiskey into the coffee of some local travelers. The concept really took off when Stanton Delaplane, San Francisco Chronicle travel writer, brought the recipe across the pond and started serving it at the Buena Vista Cafe.
How to Prepare it – Recipe
There are a few different ways you can prepare this coffee cocktail, and some require a little more work than others. You can simply prepare a cup of coffee and then pour in the extra ingredients, mixing everything together for a quick and easy cocktail. But if you want to get the full experience, a little more effort is required, as explained in the steps below.
- 1.5 oz (40ml) of whiskey
- 3 oz (80ml) of hot coffee
- 1 oz (30ml) cream
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
- Fill a coffee mug with hot water and let it sit to heat the glass, before pouring the water away
- Add the whiskey and sugar to the hot glass first, then pour over the coffee
- Stir the mixture together
- Use the back of a spoon to gently pour the cream over the top of the drink, forming a floating layer
How to Drink it
This coffee cocktail is a sweet treat with a lot of flavor. It can be treated like a dessert and is usually enjoyed after a meal. Like a good quality coffee, it should be drunk slowly, while hot, allowing the drinker to savor the rich flavors of the whiskey and the unique notes of the coffee. Some people who prefer creamy and milky coffees may want to stir the cream in, while others will simply let it float on top and gradually blend with the drink below.
There are a lot of different ways you can experiment with the idea of this coffee cocktail. You can adjust the basic formula by using different coffee roasts and whiskeys to get different taste experiences, for example, and you may choose to use less cream and sugar if you prefer bitter flavors. You can also switch out the Irish whiskey for other alcoholic drinks, including rum, Scotch, bourbon, vodka, and Baileys.
Coffee fans and whiskey lovers alike will delight in this delicious drink, perfect for sipping slowly on a cold winter’s night.