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13 Captivating Facts About Caramel Irish Coffee

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The sweet, creamy, and boozy Caramel Irish Coffee has become a beloved after-dinner treat and popular dessert drink. This decadent beverage brings together smooth Irish whiskey, sweet caramel, strong coffee, and lightly whipped cream. Sip on this warming cocktail on a cold winter’s night and learn some fascinating facts about its origins and ingredients.


Irish coffee was originally created to warm up cold passengers arriving in Ireland. By adding caramel to this classic recipe, the drink takes on richer, deeper flavors. The bittersweet taste of caramel beautifully complements the malty Irish whiskey and robust coffee. Take a journey through this drink’s captivating history, composition, and best practices for making it at home.

Facts About Caramel Irish Coffee

Facts About Caramel Irish Coffee
  1. Irish coffee was invented at Foynes Flying Boat terminal in Limerick county in 1943. Chef Joe Sheridan first made the drink to revive chilled and weary Transatlantic flight passengers traveling through the terminal.
  2. Stanton Delaplane brought Irish coffee to the United States after drinking it in Ireland. The travel writer shared the recipe with Jack Koeppler, owner of the Buena Vista cafe in San Francisco. This popularized Irish coffee stateside in 1952.
  3. The original recipe called for brown sugar. Later recipes swapped brown sugar for white sugar or simple syrup. The caramel version uses caramel sauce in place of plain sugar for richer flavor.
  4. The coffee base should be freshly brewed and piping hot. This allows the melted caramel to blend smoothly and prevents the cream from curdling when floated on top.
  5. Any Irish whiskey can be used, but Jameson is a frequent choice. The smooth blended whiskey provides warmth and complements coffee’s roasted notes.
  6. Thickened cream makes the best topping. Lightly whipped heavy cream or double cream floated over the back of a spoon atop the coffee.
  7. Caramel sauce adds deeper flavor and aroma. Butterscotch, brown sugar, sweet toasted, and maple notes enhance the coffee and whiskey.
  8. Salted caramel makes for an indulgent nightcap cocktail. A pinch of flaky sea salt balances sweetness and accentuates flavors.
  9. The ideal glass to serve it in has thick, insulating walls. This keeps the coffee hot and the cream cold, so the layers don’t blend too quickly. Irish coffee glasses or mug cups work well.
  10. Caramel Irish coffee contains roughly 185 calories in an 8-ounce serving. The sweet caramel and creamy topping increases calories from a plain Irish coffee.
  11. It’s commonly enjoyed after dinner, offering dessert-like sweetness in drinkable form. The combination of coffee and Irish whiskey makes it perfect for ending an evening.
  12. Bailey’s can be substituted for whiskey for a sweeter, creamier beverage. Additional caramel is not needed in this case.
  13. It’s popular on St. Patrick’s Day and at Irish pubs and restaurants. Caramel Irish coffee captures Ireland’s welcoming spirit for cold, weary travelers with its warming layers.


With its origins in Irish hospitality and its soul-warming layers of flavors, caramel Irish coffee makes a perfect nighttime treat. Sip slowly and savor the intermingling tastes of bittersweet caramel, smooth Irish whiskey, robust coffee, and lightly sweetened cream. The next time you want to warm up with an indulgent dessert drink, whip up this special coffee beverage.

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