One sip of this delicious Irish Iced Coffee, and you're sure to fall in love!
Cold coffee with whiskey is a fun twist on the classic drink that's easy to make and ready in minutes ... perfect for St. Patrick's Day, Christmas, or any day you feel like treating yourself!
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Have you ever had a classic Irish Coffee? It was one of my favorite treats when I lived in San Francisco.
Thankfully, it's easy to make at home whenever a craving strikes. And with St. Patrick's Day rapidly approaching, I'm super excited to share a fun twist on the traditional recipe: Irish Iced Coffee!
This drink features lightly sweetened cold coffee mixed with whiskey and topped with a collar of whipped cream. It's decadent and oh so delicious, and best of all, it's super simple to make!
My husband and I both agreed that we liked the cold version of this whiskey coffee cocktail even more than the hot version ... and I know you're going to love it, too!
Ready to try this delightful coffee drink for yourself? Then keep reading for all the details.
History of Irish Coffee
The Buena Vista in San Francisco is often considered the birthplace of Irish Coffee. But did you know that it was actually created in 1943 by Joe Sheridan, a chef at Ireland's Foynes Airport?
Hoping to warm up passengers stranded at the airport, Sheridan served the travelers hot coffee with whiskey and topped it off with cream. Not surprisingly, they loved it.
The drink really took off when Stanton Delaplane, a reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle, tried Sheridan's drink at Foynes Airport. After returning home, he and Jack Koeppler (owner of The Buena Vista) perfected their Irish Coffee recipe ... and the rest is history!
If you ever visit San Francisco, a stop at The Buena Vista is a must. You'll love the warm atmosphere and the old school waiters are almost as great as the drinks. They line the glasses up on the bar, then make a bunch of drinks at a time ... it's so fun to watch!
This recipe uses four really simple ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Cold Coffee - You must start with cold coffee for this recipe, because hot coffee will melt the ice and water the drink down. I brewed a pot ahead of time, then chilled it. You could also make a cup of coffee, then chill it quickly in your freezer (like I do for Iced Coffee), or you could use cold brew. I recommend using a medium to dark roast ... something full-bodied and flavorful, but not bitter.
- Simple Syrup - This drink is sweetened with simple syrup, which mixes much better with the cold ingredients than regular sugar would. It only takes five minutes to make, and you can use it for coffee drinks and cocktails. I like to keep a jar in my fridge at all times.
- Whiskey - The not-so-secret ingredient in this Whiskey Iced Coffee! It gives this drink its signature Irish kick.
- Heavy Cream - A collar of whipped cream is this drink's beautiful, decadent finishing touch. It's much easier to create than you'd think ... I promise!
Use a good-quality Irish whiskey (but nothing crazy expensive) when making Irish Coffee. I used Jameson when testing this recipe, and it works really well. They use Tullamore DEW at The Buena Vista, making it another great option. Don't have either of those on hand? Feel free to use your favorite Irish whiskey!
Yes, you can make this cold coffee cocktail with Baileys Irish Cream instead of whiskey, if you prefer. It will give the drink a different, but still super delicious, flavor! Check out my tips below, under the Variations section.
You'll Also Need
To make this cold Irish Coffee, you'll need a highball or a Collins glass (which is what I used). If you'd like to use a more traditional Irish coffee glass, make sure to use a large one (like these 10-ounce glasses), otherwise you won't have enough room for all the ingredients. You'll also need a bowl and a whisk to whip the cream, a jigger to measure the ingredients, a bar spoon (or another tall spoon), and straws for serving.
How to Make Irish Iced Coffee
You won't believe how easy this Iced Irish Coffee is to make! Here's a quick overview of the steps, and you'll find a detailed, printable recipe at the end of the post. There's also a video, if you'd like to see these steps in action.
- Whip the cream. Add the cream to a medium bowl, then whisk the cream until it's thick, but pourable (not quite a soft peak). If you whisk it a little too much, and it won't pour, just stir in a bit of extra heavy cream to get the right consistency.
- Mix coffee, simple syrup, and whiskey. Add the cold coffee, simple syrup, and whiskey to your glass. Use a bar spoon (or another tall spoon) to mix everything together. Tip: This drink is lightly-sweetened, but you can add more (or less) simple syrup to taste.
- Fill glass ¾-full with ice.
- Add whipped cream. Place your bar spoon, bottom side up, over the top of the glass. Pour cream over spoon to float the cream on top of the drink. The spoon helps keep the layers separated.
And that's really all there is to it! So simple. I recommend serving this cold Whiskey Coffee Drink with a reusable straw. The cream is thick, and you'll use the straw to stir the layers together as you sip.
Tip: To prepare this cold coffee cocktail for a crowd, prep the ingredients, then make the drinks assembly line style. Line up your glasses, then measure and add the ingredients to each glass. The recipe only has a few ingredients, so this goes fast!
Now that you know how to make the basic Irish Iced Coffee, you can experiment a bit! Here are some easy ideas:
- Baileys - Try swapping the whiskey for Baileys Irish Cream. The vanilla and chocolate flavors will give the cocktail a different, yet still delicious flavor. If you do, I'd also cut down on the whipped cream on top.
- Alcohol Free - The whiskey can easily be left out if you're serving someone who doesn't drink. It will still be super tasty!
- Hot - Serve this recipe hot instead of cold, and you have a traditional Irish Coffee ... just like the one they serve at The Buena Vista!
- Flavored Syrup - Change the taste of the drink by using a flavored simple syrup, like Brown Sugar Syrup (or Cinnamon Brown Sugar Syrup) or even this hazelnut syrup.
- Other Alcohol - Try making this drink with other brown liquors, like rum.
Iced Irish Coffee makes a fun brunch drink, so don't save it for the holidays ... serve it with your favorite breakfast and brunch recipes year round! It would be delish paired with these Coffee Cake Muffins, Breakfast Enchiladas, Mediterranean Strata, Breakfast Burritos, or even something simple, like these easy Yogurt Parfaits.
And of course, it's perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Pair it with Vegan Irish Stew, Green Pizza, Green Mini Cakes, Green Beer, Beer Bread, or Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, and you've got yourself a party!
If you're a cold coffee lover like me, make sure to try these recipes next:
- Iced Coffee - My go-to recipe that I drink every day!
- Instant Iced Coffee - The quickest way to make cold coffee at home.
- Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso - A delicious Starbucks copycat.
- Dalgona Coffee - You've got to try this unique whipped coffee at least once!
- Dirty Chai Latte - The perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
- Australian Iced Coffee - Coffee + ice cream ... what could be better?
- Coffee Popsicles - A delicious summer treat.
Looking for more cocktail ideas? You'll love my Classic Daiquiri, Dark Rum Mojito, Spiked Apple Cider, and Rum Old Fashioned, too!
Irish Iced Coffee
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup cold coffee
- 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey (3 tablespoons)
- ½ ounce simple syrup (1 tablespoon)
- Whisk cream in medium bowl until thick, but still pourable.
- Stir coffee, simple syrup, and whiskey together in a highball or Collins glass, using a bar spoon.
- Fill glass ¾-full with ice.
- Place spoon over drink, bottom-side up. Slowly pour cream over spoon to fill glass (you may have a little left over).
- Add a straw and serve immediately. Enjoy!