Irish Coffee

Created by an airport restaurant chef in 1942, the first Irish Coffee was served to a group of New York-bound passengers stranded at a Limerick airbase due to inclement weather. As the story goes, one of the Americans asked whether or not the coffee was Brazilian and was told no, that’s “Irish” coffee.

From that point forward the drink became a popular staple at the airport bar. In 1952 a travel writer visiting Ireland brought the recipe to the United States where it was first served at the Buena Vista Hotel in San Francisco.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee

Yield: 1 serving
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Learn how to make a traditional Irish Coffee using black coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey and a float of whipped cream.


  • Hot black coffee
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 to 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • Whipped cream (see notes)


  1. Fill a 6-ounce glass with very hot water to preheat it, then empty it out and replace it with 4 ounces of hot coffee. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the Irish whiskey, then gently pour the whipped cream over the back of a spoon so it floats on the top.


Recipe Notes:

For best results, whip a small amount of heavy cream until it lightens and thickens slightly, but is still pourable.