What is an Irish Coffee?

What is an Irish Coffee

In this article, I will write a brief overview of Irish coffee, give you a good simple recipe, some info on the glasses, and a few helpful tips.

I hope you like it.

Irish coffee is a hot drink consisting of black coffee with Irish whiskey, whipped cream and brown sugar. 

This coffee variety is said to have been invented in Ireland as a pick-me-up for weary travellers in the 1940s.

Today Irish Coffee is served in a special glass and often consumed as a combination of dessert, coffee and after-meal drinks.

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Ingredients Irish Coffee - What do you need to make Irish Coffee?

There are several recipes that you can use to make Irish Coffee. Usually it contains the same four basic ingredients, which you can buy at any supermarket and liquor store.

For a glass of Irish Coffee:
Irish whiskey:

  • 1 shot glass (3 cl)
  • Strong coffee
  • A generous cup of Fresh cream
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar, preferably brown sugar – 2 teaspoons

How do you make Irish Coffee yourself?

You must adhere to several basic principles:

– Only use whiskey, no other alcoholic drinks. 

Irish Whiskey is, of course, preferred, such as Jameson Irish Whiskey.
– The coffee should be piping hot

Coffee from a Senseo machine or something similar is possible in principle. Still, a real authentic Irish Coffee is made with coffee from a good espresso machine, such as De’Longhi Dinamica.

– Always preheat the glass in which you will be serving the Irish Coffee. 

This is best done by pouring hot water into the glass and emptying it just before you start preparing your Irish Coffee

In some recipes, the whiskey is also heated, but this is unnecessary as long as the coffee is really hot.
– Never whisk the cream completely stiff, but keep the cream ‘lumpy’.

Preparation method:

  1. Beat the (unsweetened) cream lightly, so that you can still pour the cream later.
  2. Pour the whiskey into the preheated glass. Add the sugar and stir with a long spoon until all the sugar is completely dissolved in the whiskey.
  3. Then pour the hot coffee into the whiskey-sugar mixture.
  4. Finally, the cream is added to your Irish coffee. This must be done carefully, as the cream should float on the coffee.

Irish Coffee glasses

An important part of your Irish Coffee is the glasses in which the coffee speciality is served.

Irish Coffee is usually served in special Irish Coffee glasses. 

In general Irish Coffee glasses are made of thick, heat-resistant glass and have a broad ‘base’. 

The content of the glass can vary somewhat per brand but always fluctuates around 24 cl.

The glass base can optionally be provided with a small handle, as is the case with Arc International Irish Coffee Mazagran glasses, for example. 

There are also glasses for sale where the handle is not attached to the base, but to the glass itself, such as the Banquet Irish Coffee glasses. 

Whether or not a handle is pleasant when drinking Irish Coffee and whether it should sit best on the base or the glass is very personal.

Some brands provide their glasses with graduation, as an indication for the sizes of whiskey, coffee and cream. 

These glasses may, therefore be convenient to use, but they do not always look stylish.

Other glass producers opt for a beautiful decoration of the glass, usually containing a Shamrock, the Irish National symbol consisting of a three-leaf clover. 

An example of such an Irish Coffee glass with decoration is the Arcoroc Touraine Irish Coffee glass.

This link will bring you to Amazon, where you can see a wide selection of the best Irish coffee glasses.

irish coffee

Special considerations if you want to make a perfect Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is served without a spoon, as you are not supposed to stir the cream and coffee together. 

You should drink the coffee with whiskey through the cream.

There may be a tendency to use aerosol whipped cream for your Irish Coffee. Do not.

That is easy, but aerosol whipped cream does not float nicely on the coffee, but sinks through the coffee and starts to stick to the glass. 

The essence of Irish Coffee is that the cold cream floats on top of the hot coffee.

Make sure the coffee is hot and that the cream you use is cold. 

That is precisely what makes Irish Coffee so delicious, the sensation of the contrast between hot and cold, at the same time nice and sweet due to the sugar and pleasantly warming due to the whiskey.


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