Travel may be a little tricky these days, but you can still traverse the globe with these delicious drink recipes to try at home. 

Today's cocktail hails from Shannon, Ireland – Irish Coffee. 

What is it?

A balanced blend of caffeine and alcohol, Irish coffee warms you up from the inside out. No wonder it’s popular in both rainy Ireland and foggy San Francisco. 


It was a stormy night in winter ’43: a Canada-bound seaplane departing from Foynes port in south-west Ireland was forced to turn back due to foul weather. Chef Joe Sheridan greeted the chilled passengers with coffee laced with Irish whiskey, and a tradition was born. And in 1952, travel writer Stanton Delaplane was wowed by the drink at Shannon airport and took the secret home to America with him. 

You’ll need 

2fl oz (60ml) double cream 
3½fl oz (100ml) strong hot coffee 
2 tsp brown sugar 
1½fl oz (40ml) Irish whiskey 
fresh nutmeg (optional) 


Step 1: Pour some hot water into the glass, just to warm it. 
Step 2: With a whisk, gently beat the cream until just thick but not fluffy – it should still slide off a spoon. 
Step 3: In a separate glass, combine the coffee, sugar and whiskey and stir until the sugar is dissolved. 
Step 4: Empty the hot water from the glass, then add the coffee mixture. Gently spoon the cream over the coffee, in a thick layer that fills the glass to the rim. (Some people prefer to ‘float’ the cream by pouring it gently over the back of a spoon). 
Step 5: Grate nutmeg over the top, if desired. 

Tasting notes

The first sip of a perfectly crafted Irish coffee is a marvel of sensations: first cold, thick cream and perhaps the scent of nutmeg, then hot, sweet coffee, and finally the gentle warmth of Irish whiskey. It tastes best in a wood-paneled pub or otherwise cozy bar, ideally, with a view of the nasty weather you’re avoiding outside. Irish coffee is a sort of magic trick in a glass, as the sugar in the coffee enables it to support the cream. Avoid serving it in a straight-sided mug, as the cream will dissolve too quickly. 

For additional cocktail recipes, check out our Destination Drinks page.

This article was originally published in April 2020 and updated in September 2020. 

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter. Make sure you're ready for anything with travel insurance from our trusted partners.

This article was first published April 2020 and updated September 2020

Explore related stories