Irish Coffee


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Irish coffee is a delicious and cozy winter cocktail. It’s a simple blend of coffee, whiskey, your sweetener of choice and a few dollops of fluffy whipped cream. It’s coffee with a boozy sweet kick!

Irish coffee on a serving plate.

Who created Irish coffee?

If you’re wondering who thought of this brilliant idea, you can thank an Irish chef named Joe Sheridan. In 1943, he ran a new restaurant at the Foynes airbase in Ireland. Where one day, he came across a boat of stranded travelers who returned back to the base due to a winter storm.

Sheridan figured they could all use a little pick me up and whipped up a round of Irish coffees. To their surprise, the Americans loved the hint of whiskey in their hot coffee. And as their plane headed back to North America, so did this delicious Irish recipe.

Irish Coffee Ingredients

  • Coffee: Brew about 6 ounces of your favorite coffee (also about 3/4 cup).
  • Irish Whiskey: You’ll need 1 1/2 oz or 3 tablespoons. You can use any Irish whiskey, but see below for the best gluten-free options.
  • Sugar: I’ve used 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar to sweeten this up. But you can also use maple syrup or a keto-friendly sugar.
  • Whipped Cream: Whip up some heavy cream to create the fluffy topping. Or make coconut whipped cream for a dairy-free option.

Making Irish Coffee on a table.

What Whiskey Brands Are Gluten Free?

Whiskey is one of those nuanced ingredients if you’re celiac or gluten-free. While whiskey is made from grains that contain gluten, the gluten is removed in the distillation process (to less than 20 ppm) making it technically gluten-free, but likely not 100% gluten-free.

The more distillations the better when it comes to whiskey, as it’s likely to me more gluten-free. Just make sure that there’s no colorings or flavorings added after distillation which may contain gluten.

Jameson Whiskey, the Irish whiskey used in this recipe is triple distilled. But even with that, some people may still be sensitive to it. It’s very individual and you should always listen to your body.

If you want to be 100% certain the whiskey in your cocktail is 100% gluten-free, then opt for a whiskey made from sorghum or millet. A few brands include:

  • James F.C. Hyde Sorgho Whiskey: made from 100% sorghum
  • Koval Millet Whiskey: made from 100% millet
  • New Southern Revival Sorghum Whiskey: made from 100% sorghum
  • Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey: made from 100% sorghum
  • S.S. Sorghum Whiskey: made from 100% sorghum

Two glasses of Irish Coffee.

How To Make Irish Coffee

All you need to do is stir the coffee, whiskey, and sweetener together. Then dollop a layer of whipped cream.

  1. Pour the maple syrup into a heat-safe mug.
  2. Pour the coffee into the mug and stir until the syrup is combined.
  3. Add the Irish whiskey and stir again.
  4. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately!

More Irish-Inspired Recipes

Need a few more ideas for Saint Patrick’s Day? Something to pair with your Irish Coffee? Give these tasty recipes a try.

Irish Coffee on a serving plate.

Irish Coffee

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Lisa Bryan


Irish coffee is a cozy winter cocktail that's a simple blend of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and a few dollops of fluffy whipped cream!


  • 6 oz freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar, or other sweetener
  • whipped cream


  • Pour the hot coffee into a mug, about 2/3 of the way full.
  • Stir in the whiskey and your sweetener of choice.
  • Top with the whipped cream. If your whipped cream is lightly whipped, you may need to pour it slowly over a spoon so it floats on top. Serve while the drink is still warm.

Lisa's Tips

  • You can serve this cocktail in a traditional Irish Coffee mug or a more modern glass mug like the one I used in the photos. But either way glass is preferred so you can see those layers!


Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 83mg | Sugar: 4g
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: How To Make Irish Coffee, Irish Coffee, Irish Coffee Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi,
    I am new to your website. Everything is looking so good.
    My question is do you have ‘preferred’ dishware that you use?
    I have noticed a lot of glassware. Thank you for an exciting website.
    Barbara5 stars

  2. Whipping cream and coconut sugar?

    Double cream and brown sugar only that’s why your cream is sinking and the top looks like a triffle. 

    1. Hi Stephen – as I mentioned above, you can use another sweetener. I don’t use processed sugar on this blog (which is what brown sugar is…processed white sugar plus molasses). But feel free to tweak it to your liking!

  3. You had me at that gorgeous fluffy whipped cream. I’ve never had such an indulgent coffee before, but I’m so keen to try! Thanks for sharing!5 stars