Coffee with an Irish Twist

Mar 14, 2014|

Parades, packed pubs, leprechauns and green EVERYTHING will soon be common place as millions celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Imbibing in Irish inspired libations such as green beer, Irish whiskey, Irish stout or Irish coffee, is a  big part of the celebration.   In fact, according to a National Geographic article the consumption rate of a famous Irish stout brand nearly doubles on St. Patrick’s Day!

Given that a popular St. Patrick’s Day cocktail includes the word coffee in its name, I had to learn more about this beverage.

 What exactly is Irish coffee?  It is a warm cocktail that combines coffee, brown sugar, Irish whiskey and cream.   The original Irish coffee recipe was invented by Chef Joe Sheridan at an airport restaurant in Forynes, Ireland.   The story goes that on a chilly night in 1943 a plane had to return to the airport after battling inclement weather.  The chef wanted to prepare something warm for the passengers and combined coffee, Irish Whiskey, brown sugar and cream, and thus Irish coffee was born!

The original recipe used four ingredients, but as Irish coffee has spread across the world the recipe has evolved. From adding nutmeg or vanilla, to experimenting with different types of cream- it seems like every person has their personal take on Irish coffee.  For those who prefer iced coffee there is Iced Irish coffee too!

A critical component in any Irish coffee recipe is having the cream float, as the distinct Irish coffee “flavor is obtained by drinking the coffee and Irish Whiskey through the cream.”(  The secret to making the cream float-- pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon.

I love that the Irish coffee recipe has evolved and changed according to individual preference, but that the main flavor of coffee (and of course whiskey) still remains.  This coffee cocktail has been around for over 70 years and I don’t see its popularity fading away!

Do you have a personal Irish coffee recipe?   Share it with us in the comments.  We’d love to hear from you.


Wishing you a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!


  • Flying Boat and Martime Museum
  • National Geographic
  • New York Times


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