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How to Make Irish Coffee at Home

irish coffee

If you love Irish coffee, you’re in good company. Beloved by stars like Marilyn Monroe, Irish coffee is decadent, delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. It may seem complicated when you order one at a restaurant or bar, but you can quickly whip one up on a cozy night at home. Keep reading to learn how to make classic Irish coffee in four simple steps, and how to customize it to your tastes.

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Where does Irish coffee come from?

Irish coffee was invented in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, a chef and barman at an airbase in Limerick, Ireland. It was a cold winter night, and a transatlantic flight had been grounded due to bad weather. Sheridan wanted to warm up the chilled passengers, so he added Irish whiskey and cream to hot coffee.

A few years later, a travel writer introduced this delicious beverage to the United States, and the rest is history. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional to whip up a great version of this unique drink.

irish coffee

What do you need?

Are you wondering how to make Irish cream coffee? You’ll just need a few items:


How to Make Irish Cream Coffee with Baileys

1. Brew the coffee.

Start by brewing coffee. You can use any brewing method, but coffee with strong, dark flavor will hold up best against the whiskey and Irish cream. If you brew lighter coffee, you may not be able to taste it through the other flavors. Learn how to brew stronger coffee here.

2. Pour the coffee into cups.

Pour the coffee into individual cups, leaving room for the whiskey and cream. These drinks are especially beautiful in glass mugs. If you don’t have any, take a look at our guide to the best glass coffee mugs.

irish coffee

3. Add the whiskey.

Add 1 to 1.5 ounces of Irish whiskey to each glass. You can use any brand of whiskey, but a good Irish whiskey will truly make this Irish coffee.

irish coffee

4. Add the Irish Cream.

Finally, pour one ounce of Baileys Irish Cream into each glass. This will add a rich, sweet flavor to your drink and depth to your coffee flavors. Mix well and serve immediately.

irish coffee

How to Customize Your Irish Coffee

This drink is very easy to customize. You may want to consider your favorite flavors as you read our guide to personalizing this delicious drink.


For the best flavor, try a medium to dark roast. With all these other flavors, light roasts and complicated, single-origin coffees get lost in the mix, so a bold, dark coffee could be just the thing.

If you’re looking for a more concentrated drink, brew a shot or two of espresso and add just a splash of whiskey and Baileys.


If you’d like to make a non-alcoholic version, skip the Irish whiskey and substitute the Baileys with half and half and a pinch of brown sugar, or try Baileys non-alcoholic creamer.

customize your homemade Irish coffee


For a more decadent version, you can top your Irish coffee with any variety of cream. Buy ready-made whipped cream at the grocery store or whip up a homemade version using heavy cream.

To make a Baileys-flavored topping, combine half a cup of heavy whipping cream with a tablespoon of Baileys Irish Cream. Beat with a mixer for one to two minutes. Spoon your whipped cream onto the coffee.

You can also use a milk-frothing wand or the built-in frother on an espresso machine to make a silky layer of foam.

Other flavors

If you’re a little more experimental, why not try adding other flavors? Try muddling fresh mint leaves, dropping in a little peppermint extract, or sprinkling in cinnamon or cocoa powder. If you have a bigger sweet tooth, drizzle a little caramel or chocolate sauce into your glass. And though Irish coffee is a dessert in itself, you can try serving it alongside ice cream or biscotti to make it even more flavorful.


Made of dark, flavorful coffee, smoky whiskey, and sweet cream, Irish coffee is a uniquely delicious drink. Despite its decadence, it’s surprisingly easy to make and simple to adapt to your tastes. We hope that our guide, featuring four simple steps, helps you mix up an amazing drink. You might as well skip your next trip to the pub and indulge in a smooth, creamy Irish coffee at home.

Looking for another decadent coffee dessert? Choose from the 10 best coffee ice creams!

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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