Learn how to make this Irish coffee from The Dead Rabbit, an NY Irish hotspot voted Best Cocktail bar in the world.iStock

Everyone has their own Irish coffee preferences – strong or balanced, fresh cream or whipped, with Brady’s Irish Cream or pure unadulterated Irish whiskey.

For an occasion as important as St. Patrick’s Day, though, we wanted to turn to the experts for an Irish coffee recipe that’s as authentic as they come.

Enter Jack McGarry, owner of the Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City, a famed Irish hotspot voted Best Cocktail Bar in the World.

McGarry’s Irish coffee recipe traces back to the 1940s Foynes Airport original. Irish coffee was invented by Foyne’s Airport chef Joseph Sheridan in 1942 to welcome Americans visiting Ireland. The travelers arrived in the west of Ireland on a cold winter night, so Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee to warm them up, telling the Americans they were being served Irish coffee.

McGarry’s recipe offers a sophisticated twist with grated nutmeg and uses Clontarf 1014 Blended Irish Whiskey, which is produced from a blend of pot-stilled single malt whiskey and column stilled grain whiskey using pure Irish spring water. It is named after the legendary battle led by High King Brian Boru that sent Viking invaders packing from Ireland once and for all in 1014.


The Best Irish Coffee (served at Dead Rabbit, created by Jack McGarry, owner of Dead Rabbit)

It has been said that “Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.” Here is a version you can make at home that traces back to the 1940s Foynes Airport original:

  • 1 ½ oz. Clontarf 1014 Irish Whiskey
  • ¾ oz. Demerara syrup (made with 1 part water to 1 part Demerara sugar)
  • 4 oz. freshly brewed coffee
  • Cream: whisk 2 oz. of Brady’s Irish Cream with 6 oz. of heavy cream
  • Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg 

Fill an Irish coffee glass or mug with hot water and let stand for a few minutes to warm. Pour out water. Add the whiskey, syrup and coffee, then stir. Add whipped Brady’s the width of your thumb. Freshly grate nutmeg over the top.

* Originally published in 2014.