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Valerie's Irish Coffee with Lemon-Vanilla Whipped Cream
Valerie Bertinelli's Irish Coffee with Lemon-Vanilla Whipped Cream
Nathan Congleton/TODAY
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According to popular lore, this drink dates back to a stormy winter night in the 1940s when a group of air travelers became stranded in a small port town in Ireland. A resourceful bartender provided a double-dose of just what these weary people needed by adding whiskey to coffee, and a classic was born. This drink remains perfect for the nighttime, especially in the winter months when the temperature drops and you want to warm up from the inside out. This particular recipe relies on the tried and true original lineup of coffee, whiskey, and whipped cream, though I’ve given the latter my own twist with the addition of lemon. Think of this on a cold night by the fire, after a day on the ski slopes, or as a well-deserved reward for shoveling the driveway. 


  • Irish coffee

    • 2 tablespoons hot water
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
    • 6-7½ tablespoons hot espresso
  • Lemon-vanilla whipped cream

    • 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest


For the Irish coffee:

Combine the hot water and brown sugar in a mug; stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the whiskey and the desired amount of espresso.

For the the lemon-vanilla whipped cream:

Beat the heavy cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed just until soft peaks form.

Top the Irish coffee with a generous dollop of the whipped cream, and serve immediately with a spoon. 

Make ahead:

The whipped cream can be made a day ahead and kept cold in the fridge. This recipe makes 3 cups, so brew a pot of 6 servings of Irish coffee, or serve the extra cream over your favorite dessert.

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