This is the best Irish Coffee recipe we've tried

If you're looking for the best Irish Coffee recipe out there, you might want to consider this one we've cribbed from The Duke of Clarence.

This is the best Irish Coffee recipe we've tried

Sometimes simple drinks are best. It might be as pared back as a good measure of whiskey, maybe with a drop or two of water. Perhaps it’s a perfect cup of coffee at just the right time.

Put these two simple drinks together in just the right way, however, and you get something extraordinary: the best Irish Coffee recipe we’ve had.

The combination of coffee and spirit is nothing new, of course — wherever coffee has been adopted there seems to be a local caffeine plus indigenous liquor pairing, and the Espresso Martini might be Australia’s favourite cocktail. The Irish Coffee, however, has its very own origin story.

One night in 1943 at Foynes Flying Boat terminal in Limerick, Ireland, a plane bound for New York has to turn back due to bad weather. A chef on hand that night — a guy called Joe Sheridan — warmed up the passengers with hot beverage of Irish Whiskey and coffee, adding sugar and cream to suit the American palate.

Or so the story goes.

Whatever the truth of the story, it’s an undeniable fact that the Irish Coffee adds up to more than its constituent parts — it’s a world famous drink for a reason.

But there are a few things to consider if you want to make the drink as good as it can be.

Firstly, you want to pay attention to the temperature. After all, it is the contrasting temperatures — the cool cream on top and the hot coffee beneath it — which makes the Irish Coffee a delight to drink. We’ve cribbed and adapted the recipe below from The Duke of Clarence in Sydney, who in turn adapted the Irish coffee recipe from New York bar Dead Rabbit.

You’ll note that the recipe calls for the hot coffee, sugar, and Irish Whiskey mix to be kept around 78 degrees Celsius, and the whipped cream to be as ice cold as possible. At The Duke of Clarence, they’ll batch whiskey, coffee, and the sugar together and keep it in a water bath at that constant temperature.

Why do you want the hot components at that temperature? Because the hotter the temperature of the mix the more volatile the pure alcohol aromas will be, aggressively hitting your nose with each sip.

They also make a demerara syrup, at a ratio of two parts demerara sugar to one part water, to sweeten the drink, which adds to the richness of the coffee and the whiskey.

Lastly, they’ll whip the cream — one that has a fat percentage between 32 and 35 percent is preferable — in a cocktail shaker to the consistency of pancake batter, layering it on top of the drink.

That’s how, with just a few tweaks to technique, you get the best Irish Coffee we’ve ever had.

Irish Coffee


  • 35ml Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  • 100ml medium bodied filter coffee
  • 30ml whipped cream
  • 15ml demerara syrup (2:1)


  1. Combine the coffee, whiskey, and syrup at a temp of no more than 80 degrees Celsius.
  2. Pour into an Irish coffee glass (preferably with a handle).
  3. Layer 30ml of very cold whipped cream on top of the coffee by pouring it slowly over a spoon.


Adapted from a recipe at The Duke of Clarence, Sydney.