How to make Irish coffee is to combine Irish Whiskey, Coffee, Sugar and Cream in the correct ratio’s so that the flavours compliment each other perfectly so that one of the ingredients does not overpower the others. Using an Irish coffee glass will also enhance the flavour and experience.
If you love coffee and you like a little nip of whiskey this is the perfect after dinner drink or simply a treat for yourself after a hard day at work!
What are the ingredients for an Irish coffee?
It’s the main ingredient and choosing the right coffee made correctly will give you something that is much more than just a drink, it will be an experience to savour and remember.
The one type of coffee that you should definitely avoid is instant coffee. Instant coffee is the lowest quality of coffee and has been brewed months before and then frozen and broken down into coffee granules before being added to the jar you find on the supermarket shelf.
Making an Irish coffee with instant coffee is like eating a Rustlers hamburger that you heat up in the microwave.
It may look like a burger but doesn’t really taste like one and it won’t do you any good.
Coffee is the same. If you use instant coffee and add some wonderful Irish Whiskey and some lightly whipped cream then the Whiskey and cream will be ruined by the poor coffee.
You don’t want to overpower all the other ingredients either by using a really strong dark roast coffee. Dark roast coffee beans are great for espresso-based drinks like cappuccino or latte but for an Irish coffee choose something a little lighter.
A medium roast coffee brewed in a cafetiere will produce a well flavoured coffee but not too strong that the other flavours get stifled.
If you have never used a cafetiere before it’s a great way to get great coffee at a low cost and is miles better than instant coffee. This article explains more:
And if you go down that road these are some great coffees that perfectly compliment a cafetiere and work very well with Irish coffee:
You’ll need 150ml of coffee for 1 glass of Irish Coffee
It’s got to be Irish whiskey or it’s not an Irish Whiskey. Personally I like Jameson Irish Whisky but whatever one you have at home or prefer is just fine.
You’ll need 50ml of Irish Whiskey for 1 glass or Irish Coffee
Irish Whiskey made correctly has a layer of cream that sits or “floats” on top of the coffee.
Something we often see is people adding thick whipped cream that looks like a Mr Whippy ice cream on top of the coffee.
That is the WRONG way to do it because when you drink it everything cannot blend in correctly to give you that incredible warm silky taste that comes with combining the coffee with the whiskey and some lightly whipped double cream.
You’ll need a small tub of double cream to produce several glasses of Irish Whiskey.
Sugar or sugar syrup will both work well. The important thing is to use brown sugar and not white.
Brown sugar has a much more distinctive flavour that perfectly complements coffee.
Use two teaspoons of brown sugar for each glass of Irish Whiskey
Irish coffee glasses
An Irish coffee is something to be savoured, sipped and enjoyed as an experience and to do that properly it needs to be served in a glass not a cup or a mug.
If you already love coffee and your drink of choice is a cappuccino or latte then you may already have some coffee glasses that you could use.
Irish coffee has its own very specific glass that tends to look something like this:
If you order an Irish coffee in a half decent restaurant they should serve it up in a glass similar to that and if you think you will drink it at home on a regular basis then you can consider investing in a set.
The main thing is to prepare and serve it in a tall glass because once you have added the coffee and whiskey and sugar and cream in the correct proportions you will have about 220ml of liquid.
That’s similar to a large latte and latte’s get served in glasses and Irish whiskey should be as well.
If you don’t already have coffee glasses then these are a great low cost set that are perfect for Irish coffee as well as latte and cappuccino:
How to combine all the ingredients correctly to make an Irish coffee
1. Heat the glass. An Irish coffee is a drink to be enjoyed slowly. If you don’t heat the glass the drink will cool and get cold reducing the overall enjoyment. Pour some boiling water into the empty glass and set aside.
2. Make the coffee. Use a cafetiere or a moka pot will work just fine as well.
3. Lightly whip the double cream. This is important to ensure that the cream doesn’t sink to the bottom of the coffee when you add it to the glass. By introducing some air to the cream it will float beautifully on top of the coffee. You can give it a bit of a whisk but it will work just as well if you put it in a jar and give it a shake.
4. Add the sugar to the glass. Empty the hot water out of the glass and add two tablespoons of brown sugar.
5. Add 50ml of the150ml of coffee to the glass and stir in the sugar.
6. Add the 50ml of Irish whiskey.
7. Add the remaining 100ml of coffee and stir gently.
8. Pour the lightly whipped cream over the coffee slowly. To make sure it doesn’t sink, pour the cream onto the coffee over the back of a teaspoon so that the cream is really close to the coffee when it hits and doesn’t plop in.
It may take 10 minutes to prepare but the enjoyment you get from it will far outweigh the time it took to get it ready.
Here is a short video that shows how it all comes together in a few minutes:
Should you stir the cream into an Irish Whiskey?
For presentation purposes, the cream should sit on top of the coffee and remain separated.
Most people will tell you not to stir the cream into an Irish coffee but in my opinion it tastes nicer if you do after the first sip.
I like to take a nice big mouthful first to get that lovely silky cream and the intense coffee flavour with the whiskey coming through for a warm sensational hit.
But after that I mix it in so that everything blends together for the same consistent flavour with every mouthful.
What tends to happen if you don’t stir it in is that you drink all the cream within a few mouthfuls and then you are just left with the coffee and whiskey.
It is of course personal preference but if you want to enjoy all the flavours together then stir it in.
Does Irish coffee get you drunk?
It depends on how many you have! The recommended amount of whiskey for one Irish coffee is 50ml
In the UK a single measure is 25ml so each Irish coffee contains one “double” measure.
Everyone is different but it is very unlikely that an Irish Whiskey will make you drunk as it only contains one double measure of alcohol.