Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Other Whiskey Cocktails

Gran Rosta Coffee

Gran Rosta Coffee cocktail in an Irish Coffee mug with whipped cream topping, served next to orange-and-white towel
Image: Tim Nusog

The Irish Coffee is a classic cocktail that has warmed millions of souls over the decades. Served across the world, but with an origin that’s often pegged to an airport in Ireland and then a bar in San Francisco, it has inspired countless variations.

Ray Burns, the owner of Prohibition in Charleston and Savannah, says there’s never a wrong time of year to drink an Irish Coffee, but it’s especially perfect for winter sipping. His take on the classic begins with all the usual ingredients (whiskey, coffee, sugar and cream) but then takes a unique departure.

“As Irishmen, we take our Irish Coffee very seriously. The Gran Rosta Coffee has become one of our signature drinks at both Prohibition locations,” Burns says of the drink, which derives its name from the Gaelic words for “popcorn.” There’s a reason for that name. “The secret ingredient is a sprinkling of popcorn powder on top.” The garnish lends a buttery, salty flair to the rich and warming drink.


  • 1 ounce Teeling single-grain Irish whiskey

  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup

  • 4 ounces brewed coffee

  • Fresh whipped cream*

  • Garnish: popcorn powder**


  1. Add boiling water to an Irish Coffee mug, and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes to warm.

  2. Pour out the water, then add the Irish whiskey and demerara syrup.

  3. Fill the mug with high-quality brewed coffee.

  4. Top with a layer of fresh whipped cream.

  5. Sprinkle with popcorn powder

*Fresh whipped cream: Add heavy cream to a shaker and dry-shake (without ice) until the cream thickens.

**Popcorn powder: Make fresh popcorn, add butter and salt, then ground the popcorn into a powder.