There are a lot of versions of the Irish coffee cocktail out there. But you’d be hard-pressed to find one without a dash of Baliey’s Irish Cream in it. That changes today. We’re taking the cocktail back to its roots — by making the classic recipe, sans the creamy booze.
The Irish coffee is pretty straightforward for a hot cocktail. Even if you don’t have a coffee machine at home, you can always use instant coffee in a pinch. Other than that, you really just have to whip some cream. And even then, no one is going to stop you from using whipped cream from one of those spray cans.
A classic Irish coffee is a mix of black coffee (usually a double espresso these days), sugar, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream. The construction is what makes the drink special. The idea is to have a layer of cream that you sip the whiskey-spiked coffee through — adding a balanced and textural experience to the drink.
Let’s get mixing!
- 4-oz. freshly brewed black coffee/espresso
- 1.5-oz. Irish whiskey
- 1.5-oz. heavy cream (32%)
- 1 barspoon demerara sugar
- Optional: dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder
I’m using a double espresso (one shot of espresso is two-ounces) from my home machine. It’s nothing special, just straightforward coffee. For the Irish whiskey, use what you have on hand. You don’t have to go too high on the price scale. Jameson, Bushmills, Tullamore are all fine.
Finally, traditionally the cocktail doesn’t call for a dusting of anything on the cream. But, it does add a nice touch with a little more depth to the overall end product. That being said, you don’t have to add a dusting of anything if you don’t want to.
What You’ll Need:
- Coffee maker
- Milk frother
- Clear coffee mug
- Extra glasses or mugs
- Add hot coffee, whiskey, and sugar to the mug. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Froth the cream (15 to 20 seconds). Use the barspoon to scoop the cream on top of the cocktail gently so that it floats.
- Optional: dust with cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder.
From the first sip, it’s easy to see why this drink caught on. Sipping the coffee through the cream just cools it enough to make it very easy to drink.
The body of the cocktail has a nice nuttiness to it that’s cut slightly by the sugar base and distinct whiskey. The bitterness almost becomes slightly tart but is then smoothed out completely by the cream.
I dusted mine with nutmeg, which added a well-rounded and wintry vibe and matched the nuttiness and creaminess of the drink itself.
Overall, this was super easy to make. It took maybe two minutes, tops. No frills. It was warming, had a nice whiskey edge, and provided a much-needed mid-day caffeine boost.