Traditional Irish Coffee

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Traditional Irish Coffee

It took my first trip to Ireland for me to appreciate traditional Irish coffee. My friend Amy and I had just landed at Shannon Airport after a long flight from Los Angeles. We were tired, jet-lagged and more than a little anxious about hopping into our rental car and driving off on the “wrong” side of the road.

I’m not sure how we got there, but we ended up in a very nice bar, still in the airport. Amy was never much of a drinker, but we both ordered Irish coffees. I still remember how easily that hot, creamy drink slid down my throat, warming me from head to toe. The cream was thick and so absolutely delicious that we asked for a second dollop. The bartender was happy to oblige.

Revived, we set out in our tiny rental car, as soon as Amy stopped screaming about the controls being on the wrong side of the car. I managed to drive about twenty-five miles before we began looking for a place to spend our first night in Ireland, home of some of the friendliest folks on the planet.

TIP: Even our “heavy whipping cream” here in the US is nowhere near as thick as you can find in Ireland. To thicken it a little, I whip it just a bit, using my whisk.

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Traditional Irish Coffee
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
How to make Irish Coffee, Ireland's classic hot toddy.
  • 2 ounces best Irish whiskey
  • 4 ounces freshly brewed coffee
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ cup slightly whipped heavy cream
  1. Pour the whiskey into a stemmed glass mug.
  2. Add the hot coffee.
  3. Stir in the sugar, to taste.
  4. Whisk the cream slightly, just until it thickens, and top with a dollop.


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12 Responses to Traditional Irish Coffee

  1. The Wimpy Vegetarian March 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    I love a good Irish coffee! We’re in Tahoe right now – and we walked down to the Lake yesterday and popped into a favorite place to get a couple. Perfect when it’s so cold outside!

    • Liz March 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

      I’m so glad you are in Tahoe and hope that awful flu has been banished to the past.

      • Liz March 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

        Thanks, Susan, you will add your special twist to this, I’m certain. X0

  2. Suzanne March 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Love Irish coffee, I have heard the same thing about the cream there, extra thick and rich and very different from the heavy cream here in the US. You have inspired me to make myself one! Cheers!!

    • Liz March 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

      Cheers, indeed – it s 80 degrees here today, so I’ll wait until the 17th for another ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Wendy Read March 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Oh goodness, I felt as if I was in Ireland right with you ๐Ÿ™‚ So delightful!! Have been to England several times, but never Ireland…I know it is a must. Great recipe LIz, gorgeous photo too!

    • Liz March 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      It was such a special trip, Wendy, with my best friend, lost to ovarian CA 14 years ago. Amy was the perfect travel companion – we went to Brazil, Italy, Paris, and both loved Ireland.

  4. Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 10, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Putting Irish Whiskey on the shopping list. Think we will have to have one for St. Patty’s Day next week. Lovely story and recipe Liz!

    • Liz March 10, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Remember to use decaf if you enjoy them at night – once, we forgot and had a lot of trouble getting to sleep, despite the whiskey – ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Laura @ Family Spice March 11, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    YUM! We love using Bailey’s in our coffee. Well, more Bailey’s than coffee for me!

    • Liz March 11, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Great idea, Laura –

  6. Oui, Chef March 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    I would like to dive into that cream!

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