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How to make Irish coffee the authentic and easy way

St. Patrick’s Day or not, creamy coffee with a kick tastes good any time of year. Try this authentically delicious Irish coffee made the good old-fashioned way — with cream, whiskey, coffee and some spice — to start your morning (or afternoon) off right.

Old-fashioned Irish coffee recipe

The key to perfect Irish coffee is in the coffee itself. It must be bold but not bitter, smooth but not sweet. Traditional drip-style coffee is most often used, but our favorite is using a French press with a medium- to dark-roast coffee. By allowing the coffee grounds to saturate the water first instead of forcing the water through a filter from the beginning, it opens up the characteristics of the coffee, highlighting its natural nuttiness and spice.


  • Coffee (6 ounces per person)
  • Irish whiskey
  • Brown sugar
  • Nutmeg
  • Liqueur (optional)
  • Heavy cream


  1. Pour a cup of coffee, leaving enough room for other liquid ingredients. Next, stir in a shot of Irish whiskey, 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and a sprinkle of nutmeg until everything is well dissolved. You can also stir in about 1 tablespoon of liqueur like Baileys Irish Cream for added sweetness.
  2. Whip heavy cream until peaks form. Using a large spoon, scoop the cream, and top off the coffee. Be careful to not mix the cream into the coffee; it should float on top.

For a more daring ritual, instead of using a cup or mug, use a thick wineglass. Dip the rim in water, and then coat the rim with sugar. With a match, tilt the sugar-coated glass rim over the flame to crystallize the granules. Be sure to not knock off the caramelized layer when stirring in the ingredients.

Enjoy, and drink responsibly.

More Irish recipes

Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day
Traditional Irish cream and cocktails
How to make St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 2/29/16

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