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How to Make the Perfect Irish Coffee

How to Make the Perfect Irish Coffee

Mmm...St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and all I can think about are all of the delicious Irish food and drinks I get to enjoy. Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, beer, and my favorite, Irish coffee.

You may have enjoyed an Irish coffee before--and I'm not talking about adding Irish creamer from the convenience store to your cup of joe. I'm talking about a true Irish coffee.

You may be wondering, what makes a coffee Irish? The answer is simple: whiskey. Some restaurants promote an Irish coffee simply as coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream in it. While this is a popular (and tasty) beverage, it's technically not a true Irish coffee. A traditional Irish coffee is made with whiskey, brown sugar, and heavy cream. And it's so yummy.

I actually used to be a bartender many moons ago, and I've made quite a few Irish coffees in my heyday. There are lots of different Irish coffee recipes on the internet; everyone makes theirs a different way. Most are similar with minor variations. But my favorite was always the way I was taught to make it. It's quite simple, and the presentation, if executed correctly, is flawless!

Without further ado, here is how to make the perfect Irish coffee. You will need:

  • Irish coffee mug - Shown above are our Personalized Irish Coffee Mugs
  • Freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Irish whiskey (I prefer Jameson, but any kind will do!)
  • Brown sugar (light brown preferred)
  • Heavy cream

Now for your mixology lesson! Luckily, it's easy as pie:

  • First, pour the hot coffee into the mug, approximately 3/4 full.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar (it really depends on personal preference and how sweet you want the coffee). Stir until dissolved.
  • Add 1 shot (1 ounce) of whiskey to the coffee. Stir.

Finally, it's time to add the heavy cream. This is a very important step because you want the cream to be layered on top of the coffee, not mixed together. Some people call this a "collar." You'll need a spoon for this; any size will do:

  • Hold the spoon above the glass, with the back part of the spoon up.
  • SLOWLY AND GENTLY (I cannot stress this enough - this is key to getting the perfect collar) pour the heavy cream over the spoon on top of the hot coffee. I prefer to layer the cream to the very top of the glass, but you can add as much as you'd like.

If you do not have a spoon to layer the cream, you can also try layering by tilting the mug, and pouring the cream SLOWLY AND GENTLY down the inside of the glass to layer it. However, the spoon method is definitely easier!

And, done! Enjoy your coffee: it's meant to be drunk through the cream on the top, but of course, it's all up to personal preference. Don't be afraid to get creative, either! While this is a very traditional Irish coffee recipe, there are lots of ways you can change it up. Many people opt to skip the sugar/heavy cream and instead top theirs with whipped cream. It's your coffee, drink it however you'd like!

Do you have a different recipe for your favorite Irish coffee? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Kelsey Bowen
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