Cocktail Corner: National Irish Coffee Day

Rise and shine Monday morning and pour yourself a little hair of the dog on January 25 for National Irish Coffee Day. Before there was Red Bull and vodka, the love affair for a jolt of caffeine mixed with alcohol started with this classic coffee/whiskey-based cocktail. Now the hand and tummy warming tipple has a full winter day of dedication, because why not.

Irish Coffee, recipe for National Irish Coffee Day

   While the sip has been around for what seems like ages, the cocktail got its official start at the Shannon International Airport in Western Ireland in the 1940s. As record has it, the cocktail was created when a group of Americans disembarking from a rather rough Pan Am flying boat flight in the heart of winter ordered some coffee. Head chef Joe Sheridan added a nip of Irish whiskey to embolden their spirits. When asked what the coffee was, Sheridan retorted, “Irish coffee.”

   The cocktail did not take hold in the U.S. until the 1950s, but since then, it has become a wintertime classic: the hot coffee topped with fresh cream makes for one of the great cold weather sips. So brew up a few, after the 9 to 5 grind of course, and celebrate National Irish Coffee Day in style with these recipes.

Irish Coffee ingredients, International Bartenders Association

What you need: fresh brewed coffee, Irish whiskey (can’t go wrong with Jameson), brown sugar, and cream.

From the annals of the International Bartenders Association, this is the official of the official recipes for this classic sip.

  • 2 parts Irish whiskey
  • 4 parts hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 parts fresh cream
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Warm whiskey over a burner (careful not boil, just warm). Pour into a glass, add hot coffee, and sugar; stir lightly. Top with cream; serve hot.

Tip: Use the back of a bar spoon to float the cream on top.


Baileys Irish Coffee, National Irish Coffee Day, recipesFor the looking for an added kick of sweetness, Baileys Irish Cream’s take on the Irish Coffee has you covered.

  • 2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
  • 6 oz. hot coffee
  • 1 oz. Irish whiskey
  • 1 dollop whipped cream

Combine Baileys. Coffee, and Irish whiskey in a, Irish Coffee glass. Top with whipped cream.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Baileys Irish Cream   

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