How to Make an Irish Coffee

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A well-made Irish coffee is warming accompaniment to dessert, as well as a soothing cocktail on its own. The cocktail, sometimes referred to as Gaelic coffee or floater coffee, is comprised of coffee and Irish whiskey sweetened with brown sugar and frothy cream. When served in traditional footed glass mugs, the cocktail resembles a glass of Guinness, a popular Irish Stout. Because it's more fun to drink with company, this recipe is good for two.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups freshly brewed coffee
  • 3 ounces (2 shots) Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 ounces Irish cream (optional)
  • Mugs
  • Whisk
  • Tablespoon
Whiskey, sugar and Irish cream add sweetness and richness to your coffee.
Whiskey, sugar and Irish cream add sweetness and richness to your coffee. (Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 1

Pour freshly brewed coffee into the mugs up to 2 inches from the rim.

Use fresh coffee for best results.
Use fresh coffee for best results. (Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 2

Pour a shot (1.5 ounces) of whiskey into each mug.

Choose your favorite Irish whiskey for this cocktail.
Choose your favorite Irish whiskey for this cocktail. (Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 3

Stir in a teaspoon of brown sugar, or more if you prefer a sweeter coffee. The sugar also makes the coffee dense so the cream can float on top.

The more sugar you add, the denser and sweeter your drink will be.
The more sugar you add, the denser and sweeter your drink will be. (Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 4

Whisk the heavy cream in a bowl until it is slightly frothy. You can also add a shot (1.5 ounces) of Irish cream to this step for added sweetness.

Whip the cream until it bubbles.
Whip the cream until it bubbles. (Image: Mary Dacuma)

Step 5

Using a tablespoon, carefully ladle the cream on top of the coffee by slowly pouring it against the inside of the mug. The cream should float on top of the coffee. If not, you can whisk the cream a little more to make it less dense and more bubbly. Then sip and enjoy.

Drip the cream slowly along the inside of the mug.
Drip the cream slowly along the inside of the mug. (Image: Mary Dacuma)
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