A little buzzy, a little boozy, and a whole lot of delicious, Irish Coffee is the ultimate night cap cocktail recipe or brunch drink.

If you want a nightcap to end all other nightcaps, Irish Coffee is the one to make; this recipe is a little buzzy, a little boozy, and a whole lot of delicious. It's the best way to end a fun evening, or even begin a fun day. 
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Irish Coffee Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients for Irish coffee.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Irish whiskey: A simple blended Irish whiskey like Jameson or Bushmills works great.
  • Coffee: Use piping-hot, freshly-brewed coffee. Espresso, warmed-up cold brew, French press, pour-over, or even percolator-brewed will do.
  • Sugar: Aim for equal amounts of white and brown sugar; the warm and slightly smoky molasses in the brown sugar complements the whiskey well.
  • Whipped cream: It’s worth the effort (and easy) to make homemade whipped cream. For best results, start with chilled bowl, chilled whisk, and cold heavy cream.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Add 5 ounces of fresh, hot coffee to a glass. Stir in white and brown sugar until dissolved. If you have a clear glass, peek at the bottom to ensure no sugar remains at the bottom of the coffee.
Adding sugar to a cup of coffee.
  1. Add in Irish Whiskey and stir. Top with whipped cream.
If you want a nightcap to end all other nightcaps, Irish Coffee is the one to make; this recipe is a little buzzy, a little boozy, and a whole lot of delicious. It's the best way to end a fun evening, or even begin a fun day. 

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: Each recipe makes 1 drink. Rather than making this punch-style in a big batch, I recommend assembling as many individual glasses of 1-serving Irish Coffees as you need to share with your guest list.
  • Preheat your glasses: The alcohol in the drink can cool things off, so if you have time, preheat the glasses with a splash of hot water (then dump it out) to prime them for the hot coffee.
2 cups of Irish coffee with a bottle of whiskey in the background.


This chocolatey Mudslide combines your after-dinner coffee with dessert in one luscious cocktail. Based on a White Russian, it’s made with Irish cream, coffee-flavored Kahlúa, and vodka. Long before the world became obsessed with Starbucks…

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A tray with Irish Coffee and a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey.

Irish Coffee

Here are the secrets for the best Irish Coffee: Dissolve brown sugar in whiskey, add boiling-hot coffee, and float a layer of barely-whipped, frothy cream on top.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 1 serving
Course Drinks
Cuisine Irish
Calories 325


  • 1/4 cup heavy cream chilled (see note 1)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey (3 tablespoons, see note 2)
  • 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 ounces freshly brewed coffee hot (see note 3)


  • In a small bowl, add heavy cream and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • In the bottom of a mug, add whiskey. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve.
  • Top with hot coffee. Pour the thickened cream over the back of a chilled spoon so it floats on top of the coffee.


  1. Heavy cream: Look for 50% to 60% heavy cream. You want to whip it just enough that it will float on top of the coffee when poured over the back of a chilled spoon.
  2. Irish whiskey: Jameson or Paddy’s Irish whiskey are best. Bushmills is a little too sharp for Irish coffee.
  3. Coffee: The coffee needs to be HOT in order to dissolve the brown sugar completely. 
  4. Yield: Each recipe makes 1 drink and should not be made in big batches.
  5. Glassware: An Irish Coffee mug is great, but if all else fails, just choose something clear. 


Serving: 8ouncesCalories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 2gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 19mgPotassium: 118mgSugar: 6gVitamin A: 875IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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