| March 17, 2015

On St. Patrick's Day, nothing beats a traditional Irish drink.

Jack McGarry, head bartender at the Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in New York City, shows us how to make an Irish coffee — one of the most famous Irish whiskey cocktails. 

But while Irish coffee originated in Ireland during the 1940s, it was Americans who made the drink what it is today: A journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle brought the recipe over and it was later perfected by bartenders.

"The key to making a great Irish coffee is the treatment of the cream," says Jack. "You need to age it for two days, and then whip it when it's cold. This treatment stabilizes the cream so that it stays at the top of the glass when you pour it over the hot coffee."

READ: Rachel Allen's Irish Stew

Using only four main ingredients — simple syrup, whiskey, coffee and liqueur-infused cream — his version of an Irish coffee is both authentic and out-of-this-world:

The Secret to Making a Perfect Irish Coffee

1 cocktail


  • Brady's Irish Cream liqueur
  • Heavy cream
  • .75 oz. Demerara syrup*
  • 1.5 oz. Clontarf Irish Whiskey
  • 4 oz. hot coffee
  • Freshly grated nutmeg


Infused Cream:

  1. Combine 1 part of Irish cream-based liqueur (McGarry prefer's Brady's) with 3 parts heavy cream. Using a whisk, whip until slightly thickened. Set aside.


  1. Pre-heat an Irish coffee goblet or toddy glass. Pour boiling water into glass, and let sit for 30 seconds.
  2. Discard water and add demerara syrup*, whiskey and hot coffee to the glass, leaving room for about a half-inch of cream.
  3. Carefully pour (or "float") a half-inch of the infused cream over the top of the cocktail.
  4. Finish with freshly grated nutmeg and enjoy.

*To make the demerara syrup, combine 2 parts demerara sugar with 1 part water in a small saucepan. Simmer over low- to medium-heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves (about 3–4 minutes). Remove from heat, let cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.