Bartenders Tell Us The Best Whiskeys To Add To Your Irish Coffee

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Today is National Irish Coffee Day. It’s perfectly situated in January because, for many of us, the weather is fairly bleak as of late. There’s blizzard-like conditions in some parts of the country and unseasonably cold temperatures in others. North Carolina got so cold that a gator froze with his nose out of the water in a pond (he was fine). All in all, we all need a boozy pick me up. Irish coffee might be the best way to get a jolt of caffeine with just enough whiskey to add an extra warming element into the whole mix.

The recipe is quite simple. All you need is coffee, brown sugar, heavy cream, and Irish whiskey. Pour your coffee into your mug or glass, stir in brown sugar, add a shot of your favorite Irish whiskey, and top it all off with whipped heavy cream.

So, you’ve got the coffee all set but you’re not sure what whiskey (or whiskey) to add? That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us which whiskeys they add to their Irish coffees (not all are even Irish whiskey). Check out all of their answers below.

Teeling Small Batch

Nahm Kim, head mixologist at Sunda New Asian in Chicago

“Teeling Small Batch. A rum cask-finished whiskey with a big, fruity mouthfeel and a ton of baking spices and toffee notes. Whiskey is oftentimes muted in Irish coffee. This one is bold enough to still shine through.”


Jillian Vose, bar director at The Dead Rabbit in New York City

“Using a blended Irish whiskey works best because it doesn’t overtake the other ingredients of the drink. We’ve experimented with single malts and single pot still Irish whiskey and they’re just too rich. We find that Bushmills works really well because it’s a lighter style of blend, but still has the malt component that gives a beautiful dried fruit which compliments the coffee well.”