It’s Settled: This Is the Best Irish Coffee You’ll Ever Make

An updated recipe from the the world’s best bar

January 25, 2018 9:00 am

UPDATE 1/25/18: After a huge tour of Ireland, the founders of The Dead Rabbit have changed their recipe. We tried it earlier this week, and it’s a stunner. The updated recipe is as follows: 

1 oz Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
.625 oz Rich Demerara Syrup (this is a scant 3/4oz)
3.25 oz Sumatra Coffee

Pour all ingredients into a 6 oz Dead Rabbit Irish Coffee glass (Editor’s note: Since you don’t have one, just use the closest glass you have to the picture above), leaving a .5 inch room for cream. Top with freshly whipped heavy cream.

If you want the great recipe from last year, read on.

Forget fake news.

Let’s turn our backs on the plethora of fake holidays (see “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day”).

Except for National Irish Coffee Day. Not worth your scorn.

Today, January 25th, we gladly celebrate our favorite winter drink. And because we’re nice, we’ll show how to make the best Irish Coffee in the world, courtesy of the best bar in the world.

If you’re not in the mood to mix, go out: to truly enjoy the hot, delicious mix of whiskey and coffee, you’ll want to stop at the Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, which serves over 2000 Irish Coffees per day. Or, you could hit up NYC’s The Dead Rabbit, the perennial “Best Bar in the World,” which built its rep partially on its own amazing Irish Coffee recipe.

In The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual, bartenders/authors Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry and Ben Schaffer argue the drink’s origin (they claim it originated in 1705, not 1942) and offer up their take, designed by bartending legend Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff (The Rainbow Room). Their one suggestion: “Buy ridiculously heavy cream.”

You can see The Dead Rabbit’s original, perfect recipe here. But below, you’ll find a newer, slight variation by DeGroff.

“I’m Italian mostly, but I’ve enjoyed the luck of the Irish at exactly the moments I most needed it,” DeGroff explains. “One of those moment was stepping behind the bar in 1975 at Charley O’s Bar and Grill in New York … Senator Patrick Moynihan chose Charley O’s as the venue for his St. Patrick’s Day breakfast, and that tradition continued for two decades, joined by crowds of resellers. At the center of that celebration was Charley O’s Irish Coffee, the third best in the world after Joe Sheridan’s revival of the drink in San Francisco at the world famous Buena Vista Café. With this recipe I am evoking the spirit of Joe’s greatness at the Dead Rabbit, where from this day forward you will find the world’s best Irish coffee.” 

Dead Rabbit Irish Coffee


1.5 oz Clontarf Irish Whiskey
4 oz Hot Birch Caro De Minas coffee

.5 oz Demerara syrup
Unsweetened hand-whipped cream


Add all ingredients except the cream to a stemmed glass and stir. Hand whip the cream so that it still pours and floats on top of the coffee. 


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