Whether you’re a longtime vegan or simply looking to cut down on dairy, this vegan Irish coffee recipe is an easy riff on the original. All it takes is a little advance planning.
How to Make an Irish Coffee Vegan
As with any cocktail recipe, each ingredient matters, so choose yours carefully. Fortunately, while some winemakers use animal products to filter their wines, most spirits—including widely available Irish whiskeys—are vegan.
Make sure to choose a vegan sugar. Brands like Sugar In The Raw, Wholesome, and Trader Joe’s Organic are vegan, but others use bone char to whiten refined granular sugar. There aren’t any remaining animal products in those sugars, but some vegans prefer not to consume products made that way.
The trickiest component in this recipe is the vegan whipped cream. A few hours before you plan to serve your drink—or, ideally, the night before—put an unopened can of coconut cream in the refrigerator. This step is crucial! As it chills, the fat solids rise to the top of the can, so you can use a spoon or offset spatula to remove it and place it in a chilled bowl. Reserve the rest of the coconut liquid from the can for another purpose (Pro-tip: it’s a tasty substitute for water in breads or baked goods.)
Then, use a handheld electric mixer or whisk to aerate the cream until it starts to form peaks, but can still be poured. If you want to prepare the whipped cream a few hours before you plan to serve your cocktail, you can add a teaspoon of cornstarch, which is also vegan, for every cup of cream. Stored in the fridge, it will maintain its whipped consistency for 2–3 hours.
How to Serve Vegan Irish Coffee
When it’s time to build the cocktail, fill your heat-proof glassware with near-boiling water. Let it sit for three minutes and then discard the water. This fussy-seeming move helps the sugar dissolve into the whiskey and the cocktail maintain its temperature.
As you top the carefully measured whiskey and sugar with coffee and whipped coconut cream, keep an eye on your ratios.
“Don’t drown the drink in coffee—about 4 ounces is all you need,” writes Dale DeGroff in his seminal book, The Craft of the Cocktail. He suggests serving this drink in a proper Irish coffee mug. “Because of their size, they will force you to use the right amount of coffee.”
That said, if all you have is a chipped coffee mug, rest assured, your cocktail will still taste delicious.
How to Make a Vegan Irish Coffee
- 1½ ounces Irish whiskey
- 2 teaspoons Sugar in the Raw, or other vegan brown sugar
- Coffee to top
- Water, hot or boiling
- Vegan whipped cream (recipe follows)
Fill your mug with hot or boiling water and let sit, undisturbed, 2-3 minutes.
Discard the water, and then add whiskey and sugar to the mug followed by the coffee, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Top with vegan whipped cream and serve.
How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Refrigerate unopened can for six hours or overnight. Ten minutes before you plan to make the whipped cream, put mixing bowl and beaters to a handheld electric mixer into freezer to chill.
Open can of coconut milk and remove fat solids, which will have risen to the top, and add to chilled mixing bowl.
Reserve remaining coconut milk liquid for another purpose.
Add cornstarch and use a handheld electric mixer and chilled beaters to mix ingredients on high until peaks form, 3-5 minutes. Vegan whipped cream will keep up to four hours in the refrigerator.
Published on December 22, 2022