Toggle Sidebar

How to Make Jameson Irish Coffee

Our delectable dinner at the Granville Hotel in Waterford ended with a lesson in how to make an Irish coffee.  When one of the hostesses arrived to show us how to make it ourselves, our tour guide Mick broke out a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey.

Mick presents a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey, meant for the Irish coffee

(Apologies for any photos that look a little blurry; I had to pull them from video clips.)

How it all started

Legend has it that the original Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s by Joe Sheridan, who worked at an air terminal in County Limerick, in the west of Ireland. On a rainy, blustery winter evening a small group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am Clipper, after having unsuccessfully tried for 10 hours to reach Canada.

Sheridan saw how cold, wet and miserable they were and knew from experience that a cup of coffee just wouldn’t do the job. He decided to warm the passengers up a bit with a new concoction. It was a huge hit.

After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan shook his head and told them it was “Irish coffee”.

How to make Jameson Irish coffee

Google “how to make Irish coffee” and you’ll find a slew of different recipes.  The amounts may differ and the procedure may vary, but they all are served in the same stemmed glass coffee mug and they all contain the same four ingredients: whiskey, sugar, hot coffee, and heavy cream.

Showing what goes into a Jameson Irish coffee

That said, it’s amazing how many Irish bars and restaurants have no clue how to make a good Irish coffee.  If you order one and it’s not a beautiful, layered creation, they didn’t make it right.

One thing to note about the whiskey: Never let them serve you budget whiskey. If it isn't good enough to drink on its own, it's not going to be good in the coffee, either. Dan and I are the first ones to tell you that we're not fond of whiskey, scotch or bourbon.  We had never tried Jameson before and we actually liked it (which is why I titled this post “How to Make Jameson Irish Coffee”).


  • 2 oz Jameson whiskey
  • 2 tsp turbinado sugar (known to the Irish as “brown sugar”)
  • 6 oz freshly brewed, hot coffee
  • heavy cream


  1. Put a teaspoon into a glass coffee mug (the kind with a stem) and pour some boiling water into it to warm it up. (The spoon is there to reduce the chance that the glass will crack, but be careful!)  Swirl the water around and pour it out.
  2. Pour the whiskey into the glass.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Add coffee up to within an inch from the rim.
  5. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. (The sugar makes the cream float on top, so don’t try to use artificial sweetener.)
  6. Hold the spoon just above the surface of the coffee. Carefully pour the cream onto the spoon. The cream will slowly flow over the edge of the spoon and rest on top of the coffee.  (Now you’ll have a glass of black coffee with a white layer of cream on top.)
  7. Serve the coffee on a plate with NO SPOON.
  8. Drink the coffee through the layer of cream.

Trying it ourselves

Most recipes specify heavy cream, and some say that lightly whipping it helps to keep it afloat. The fresh cream we were using at the Granville had been whipped so perfectly that we could just plop spoons-full onto the surface of the coffee. The coffees looked delicious, but I was so horrified to see them using instant coffee instead of fresh brewed that just I couldn’t bring myself to drink it. Blecch. Gag.

Dan, however, is not nearly as much of a coffee snob as I am. He had no problem with devouring every drop of his creation.

Irish coffee variations

While everyone was making and enjoying the coffee the conversation turned to variations on the theme.  So many bars and restaurants have come up with variations that there are entire web pages devoted to hot alcoholic coffee drinks. 

I have also listed a few Amazon books below for your convenience.

Tip: If you are using a sweet liqueur such as Tia Maria, you won’t need to add the sugar. The liqueur will have enough sugar to keep the cream afloat.

Finished Irish coffee

Here are a few just for fun. Maybe you can come up with others.

  • Scotch whisky – Highland Coffee
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream – Bailey’s Coffee
  • Drambuie – Bonnie Prince Charlie Coffee
  • Cognac – French/Napoleon/Royal Coffee
  • Asbach Uralt brandy – Rüdesheimer Coffee
  • Tia Maria – Calypso Coffee
  • Vodka – Russian Coffee
  • Dark rum – Jamaican / Caribbean Coffee
  • Tequila & Kahlua – Mexican Coffee
  • Brandy & Tia Maria – Spanish Coffee


Read more on Amazon:

Watch Mick, our tour guide, explain how to prepare Jameson Irish Coffee:

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries She has an insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

You may also like...

4 thoughts on “How to Make Jameson Irish Coffee

  1. Please let me know if there are restaurants in Nairobi that provide Irish coffee, my whisky brands are Johnnie walker black and Jameson.


    1. I’m sorry, we have no idea about restaurants in Nairobi because we’ve never been to Kenya. Perhaps a google search will send you to one that appeals; a good bartender can create anything, especially if you share the recipe in our story with him. Considering the excellent reputation of Kenyan coffee I’m sure you will be pleased with the result.

  2. We were at the Granville in Waterford around October 2, 2016. Your post is exactly how they made it. They also handed out cards on making Irish Coffee. I too was taken back with using instant coffee at first. The proof is in the product. Wow! Easy and delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow As We Saw It on