Sara's Kitchen Adventures | Irish Coffee

By: Sara DeLeeuw

Hi Adventurers! I have a question for you. How do you celebrate St. Patricks Day?

There are so many options! First, of course, is the traditional pint of green beer! You could wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt or any t-shirt really, as long as it is green so the pesky boy who lives next door won’t pinch you! You could make corned beef and cabbage for dinner and serve it with a side of Irish soda bread and a cookie that looks like a leprechaun hat. When I taught pre-school, mischievous Leprechauns would turn the milk green at snack time and over-turn a chair or two while we were at recess. There are countless Pinterest options for crafty people and plenty of celebrations around the IE too!

As for my kitchen and me, we’ll be celebrating with a homemade Corned Beef Brisket with potatoes and cabbage, but after dinner, it’s all about the Irish Coffee!


A common misconception is the Irish Coffee recipe was invented in America the 1950s. In fact, the original Irish Coffee recipe was invented by Joseph Sheridan, who was the chef at Foynes, County Limerick in the 1930s. Foynes' port was where planes on route from Europe to America would stop to refuel before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Chef Sheridan was seeking an easy way to keep passengers warm as their planes were being refueled. After a group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying boat on a bitterly cold winter's evening in the 1930s, Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. The passengers who enjoyed the taste of the coffee asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee. Sheridan told them it wasn’t Brazilian, but rather Irish coffee. And thus “Irish Coffee” was born! This now famous recipe is enjoyed all over the world!


A few tips and tricks about this drink. First, serve it in a warm glass! While the coffee is brewing, pour some hot water in your cup, and let it sit. This will help keep the coffee warmer longer too. Once you’re ready, pour out the water, add the whiskey and sugar, followed by the hot coffee.

Second, when you whip the cream, only do it until it just begins to thicken. You don’t need to have soft peaks or stiff peaks, just a nice thick cream. Be sure to pour it over the back of a spoon as you top your coffee. It will make such a pretty presentation.

Third, use sugar! This is not an optional step. The sugar keeps the cream floating nicely on the top of your Irish Coffee.

For me, there was no question where to get the whiskey! I headed to VOM FASS in Claremont to get some of Teelings “Against The Grain” Irish Whiskey! Against the Grain is a five-year-old Single Grain Whiskey from Ireland containing 50% Single Grain matured in Bourbon Barrels and 50% matured in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels. It’s done this way to showcase the Grain Whiskey on its own without using it to blend with Malt. This goes “against the grain” of most Irish Whiskey, and gives the whiskey a unique expression. Frankly, it’s one of the smoothest whiskey’s I’ve ever had and is perfect for using with this coffee!


The other very important piece of Irish Coffee is of course, the coffee! Thankfully, there are a great number of places right here in the IE where you can get fresh roasted coffee! You’re looking for anything strong and dark that will compliment the whiskey, sugar and cream. I used Auggies “El Salvador” Coffee for this recipe. It has a nice, subtle hint of chocolate, which only enhanced the coffee flavor. If there isn’t an Auggies near you, here is a list of places to spark your imagination and your tastebuds!


Traditional Irish Coffee


1-2 fluid ounces Irish Whiskey

1 tablespoon raw cane sugar (or brown sugar will work nicely too)

2 heaping tablespoons whipped heavy cream 

1 cup strong black coffee



Fill traditional Irish Coffee glasses with hot water and set aside.

When glasses are warm, pour the water out. (We are in a drought, so you use the water to water inside plants! Don’t waste it!)

Add the whiskey to the warm glass.

Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves in the whiskey.

Add the coffee and stir well.

Whip the cream lightly until it just begins to thicken. Carefully pour the lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon held just above the surface of the coffee. Gradually raise the spoon a little as you pour, the cream should float on top.

Dust the top with chocolate shavings or a bit of ground cinnamon.

Serve Irish Coffee as an after dinner beverage or on its own to warm up on a chilly night!


Enjoy my friends! Hopefully I’ll see you out and about at one of the great IE St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!


Find your favorite spot to celebrate St. Patrick's Day...READ