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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. But not just any Irish coffee. When a hostess arrived to show us an easy way to make it, our tour guide Mick broke out a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey. You can't make Irish Coffee without it.

The origin of Irish coffee – it's all about the whiskey

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, western 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. He knew from experience that a cup of coffee just wouldn’t do the job, so he decided to warm the passengers up a bit with a new concoction.

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

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

What Irish coffee is made from

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.

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 any good in the coffee, either.

Showing what goes into a Jameson Irish coffee

Is Jameson brand required?

Dan and I are the first ones to tell you that we're not fond of whiskeys, scotches or bourbons. We had never tried Jameson before, and to be honest, we were shocked that we actually liked it.

Anyway, this is why I specifically mentioned Jameson Irish Whiskey in this article. It's not a snub to any other Irish distiller, but we only mention companies we have first-hand experience with.

Tip: If you work at Bushmills or another distillery, let us know. We'll be happy to visit and then share our experience on this blog.

Recipe for 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.

Most recipes specify heavy cream, and some say that lightly whipping it helps to keep it afloat. The fresh cream we used at Granville had been whipped so perfectly that we could just plop thick spoons-full on top.

Easy recipe for how to make a Jameson Irish Coffee + how it began, tasty hot alcoholic coffee variations and resources for making Irish Coffee yourself. Direct from Ireland! #coffee #ireland #recipes

How our Irish coffee lesson turned out

The coffees were delicious, but I was so horrified to see them using instant coffee instead of fresh brewed that just I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Blecch. Gag. Our guide Mitch kindly gave me a hefty dose of Jameson to compensate. Must. Hire. Him. Again.

Dan, however, is nowhere near the coffee snob that 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 conversations 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. 

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

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

Okay, you saw the fun we had, now here's how Jameson makes Irish Coffee

After you watch this video, continue scrolling down for more on making it yourself.

Inspired? Here are resources for your own perfect Irish Coffee
Buy the glassware:

  • For the full Irish Coffee presentation, you will need [easyazon_link keywords=”Irish Coffee glasses.” locale=”US” tag=”awsi09-20″]Irish Coffee mugs.[/easyazon_link]

Want a nonalcoholic version?

  • Try [easyazon_link identifier=”B0168NK6QA” locale=”US” tag=”awsi09-20″]Musetti Ground Coffee – Irish Coffee Flavour[/easyazon_link]

Books about alcoholic hot drinks:

  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1594746419″ locale=”US” tag=”awsi09-20″]Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks[/easyazon_link] by Maria del Mar Sacasa
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00AAKI7I2″ locale=”US” tag=”awsi09-20″]Gourmet Liqueur Coffee[/easyazon_link] by Luciano Rispoli
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”B00BOWUBNO” locale=”US” tag=”awsi09-20″]7 Lessons On Irish Whiskey: An Introduction to Drinking and Enjoying the Whiskeys of Ireland[/easyazon_link]by 27Press

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages has inspired her to create As We Saw It with her husband Dan, a professional photographer. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

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4 thoughts on “How to Make Jameson Irish Coffee

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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