In the latest 2024 Coffee in Good Spirits Championships, our very own Emeline Giroux (Emi) has snagged the bronze! Hosted by the Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA), Emi, after gracing the judging panel last year, dazzled the Judges with a routine peppered with her French flair. For those who missed out on her performance, count your blessings because Emi’s now generously sharing her personalized spin on an Irish Coffee!


I must admit, a year ago, Irish coffee was not something I would order at a bar: I found this cocktail old-fashioned, overly sweet or overly boozy. But Irish coffee is all about finding that perfect harmony of texture and flavour. It’s a bit of a craft to get it right, but with the perfect blend of the right coffee and whisky, it transforms into a sophisticated and indulgent treat, almost dessert-like in its richness. Take a peek at the tips and recipe below, and I guarantee you’ll be sipping Irish coffees every weekend from here on out!


Irish coffee, comprising of coffee, sugar, cream and whisky, might seem straightforward but it’s where creativity and skill truly shine.

The choice of coffee is paramount. I opted for a South Indian coffee, produced by Riverdale Estate, not part of our usual rotation but procured specifically for competition purposes. Riverdale’s innovative approach to coffee production shines through in Lot #10, using a Carbonic Maceration Natural process. After the cherries are picked, they undergo fermentation in stainless steel tanks to enhance both body and flavour. Subsequent drying on African beds and then in shade further refines the coffee, yielding intense notes of dark chocolate, mixed berry jam and a hint of vanilla. This robust flavour profile, coupled with the coffee’s heavy body made it the ideal candidate for Irish coffee, retaining its character even after the addition of other ingredients. I was after a darker filter roast and this roast profile accentuated the desired flavour nuances. If you prefer the acidity, pick filter and if you prefer more body, pick espresso!

Starward twofold whisky was the sponsor for this competition. Hailing from Melbourne and aged in red wine barrels, its creamy texture echoed the coffee’s profile of mixed berried and vanilla. While I stuck with just this one whisky, the world of whisky offers endless possibilities for experimentation.

Riverina cream was another sponsor with its luscious and buttery texture which elevated the drink to dessert-like decadence. Should Riverina cream be unavailable, opt for a cream with at least 30% fat content to maintain the drink’s richness and texture.

Lastly, for the sugar component, I crafted a 2:1 Muscovado sugar syrup, adding depth without overwhelming sweetness, coaxing out nuances of dried fruit reminiscent of raisins.

This ensemble of ingredients culminated in an Irish coffee reminiscent of indulgent ice cream, equally suitable for dessert or a 5pm treat to power through the evening!


When diving into competition waters for the first time, the last thing you need is equipment-induced surprises! That’s why I opted for the Clever Coffee Dripper to ensure consistency, speed, reliability, and optimal heat retention for my coffee. Its use of a paper filter ensures a clean brew compared to alternatives like the French Press and its metal filter. I recommend an immersion brewer for a heavy body result which is key when you’re mixing coffees with other ingredients.

Additionally, I relied on a trusty kettle, carafe, Jigger, scale, and the competition-provided white wine glasses (though any vessel around 240ml will do).

Now, when it comes to preparing the cream, a shaker is essential for achieving that perfect float atop the Irish coffee. You’ll also need a strainer or spoon for a precise pour (I opted for a strainer to accommodate the glass shape).


Measurement for 1 Irish coffee (if you want to make 2, double all ingredients):

  • In a carafe, combine 2 parts sugar (20ml muscovado sugar syrup) with 1 part hot water. Ensure the sugar is fully dissolved and cooled
  • Brew your coffee. See here for our Clever Coffee Dripper Brew Guide
  • To the carafe, combine sugar syrup from earlier with 20ml whisky and mix well
  • Mix well and pour into your glass of choice
  • To create cream, add up to 40g of cream to a shaker and shake until it’s thickened however still a liquid.
  • Using a strainer or spoon, pour the cream atop the coffee


  • You can place the sugar and hot water in a pan and cook until dissolved to bring out the nutty and caramel flavours.
  • Depending on how creamy you would like your Irish coffee, you may use either 30g or 40g of cream. You also may need to shake 10 to 30 times depending on the amount you’re using
  • Ensure that your cream is cold!!
  • Using a strainer will help you disperse the cream evenly and remove bubbles. I wanted to have zero bubbles as it was one of the criteria of the score sheet so I strained the cream into a milk jug before using a second strainer to pour the cream in the glass – an extra step that I would not to do at home!

For maximum enjoyment, postpone cleaning for later. Seize the glass and savour the moment immediately! Make the recipe your own, explore and above all, have fun. It’s a fantastic and simple recipe to kickstart your Irish (Specialty) coffee journey. As we say in French: bonne dégustation!

Congratulations to Coffee in Good Spirits Championship competitors!

1stSerene Yu

2ndTony Xie

3rdEmeline Giroux

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