Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Other Whiskey Cocktails

20 Irish Whiskey Cocktails to Try Right Now

Irish whiskey shows it plays well with a wide variety of flavors in these drinks.

Irish Blonde cocktail / Tim Nusog

The first half of this list is “bartender’s choice” cocktails, contemporary creations that come straight from the cocktail shakers of today’s top bartenders. The second half is classics, both pre-Prohibition standards and more modern ones that have achieved worldwide acclaim. You’re sure to find something for every palate among these 20 drinks.

Irish whiskey is for more than merely sipping neat. While often not the first type of whiskey bartenders and home cocktail enthusiasts turn to when mixing a drink, the spirit shouldn’t be ignored. Its flavors work in everything from hot drinks to refreshing sippers and can be spiced up with fruit or chocolate or even coffee. Try these 20 cocktails and you’ll see just how versatile Irish whiskey can be.

  • McGlashan

    McGlashan cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Irish whiskey reigns supreme at The Dead Rabbit in New York City, and co-founder Jack McGarry created this cocktail, in which he combines the spirit with oloroso sherry, lemon juice, bitters, an orange-ginger marmalade, and a housemade ginger syrup. The result is bright and refreshing, but spicy ginger notes and a grated-nutmeg garnish also make it perfect for winter. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Fort Defiance Irish Coffee

    Fort Defiance Irish Coffee cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Invented at its namesake bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this take on an Irish Coffee from owner St. John Frizell was once named the “best in the known world” by The New York Times. And with good reason: A shot of espresso and an ounce of simple syrup replace the usual hot brewed coffee and sugar, and Frizell exclusively uses high-proof Powers Irish whiskey for an extra kick. Homemade whipped cream gets made right in a shaker tin. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Good Cork

    Good Cork cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Veteran bartender Phil Ward is perhaps best known for his work with mezcal at NYC’s now-closed Mayahuel. In this drink, he stirs the agave spirit with Irish whiskey and Benedictine, plus a couple dashes of Peychaud’s bitters. Garnish with an apple slice for a festive flourish.

    Get the recipe.

  • True Blue

    True Blue cocktail

    Brent Herrig

    New York City bartender Harrison Ginsberg created this crowd-pleasing cocktail that uses Tullamore D.E.W. as its base. A complex lineup of other flavors gets added to the mix: apple brandy, PX sherry, lemon juice, ginger syrup, miso syrup, bitters and even a splash of Guinness. It’s all shaken together and served with a dusting of grated nutmeg.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • Psycho Killer

    Psycho Killer cocktail

    The Dead Rabbit

    Cocoa-nib-infused Campari is the cocktail ingredient you didn’t know you were missing. The infusion provides a double punch of bitterness that’s ideal for mixing with Irish whiskey’s smooth maltiness. Add in a dash of white cacao to bring out the chocolate notes and a little bit of banana liqueur for sweetness, then finish with an unexpected dash of absinthe for a complex cocktail that’s perfect for evening sipping.

    Get the recipe.

  • Head of Steam

    Head of Steam cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Bar pro Pamela Wiznitzer combines Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, sherry, and two types of bitters for a stirred and boozy cocktail. Expressed oils from an orange peel add aromatic appeal and play off the citrus notes in the Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Brotherhood

    Brotherhood cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Like a handshake between Ireland and France, this cocktail from bartending pro Charles Joly blends the best of the two nations in liquid form, combining Irish whiskey with Grand Marnier and Benedictine, with a splash of lemon juice thrown in.

    Get the recipe.

  • Lone Oak

    Lone Oak cocktail / Tim Nusog

    Bring out the subtle nut flavors of Irish whiskey by pairing it with pistachio syrup. While the syrup is a little bit of an effort to make (in a process that involves soaking, a blender and heating on the stove), it’s well worth it. Mix it with whiskey, green Chartreuse, lemon juice and bitters, then top with a fresh curry leaf for an extra hit of flavor. 

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • The Nose to Cocktail

    Nose to Cocktail / Tim Nusog

    You might just consider this flip-style cocktail from legendary bar pro Jim Meehan a complete breakfast: It calls for bacon-infused Irish whiskey, lemon and orange juices, dark maple syrup, and an entire egg to produce a rich, savory-sweet drink. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Blonde

    Irish Blonde cocktail / Tim Nusog

    From “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff comes this bright mix of blended Irish whiskey, orange curacao, fino sherry and orange bitters. Stir it all up and strain it into a cocktail glass. A flamed orange peel provides a sophisticated finishing touch.

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Coffee

    Irish Coffee / Tim Nusog

    Arguably the most famous coffee cocktail around, there’s a reason that the Irish Coffee has stuck around since the early 1940s. As the legend goes, Joe Sheridan, the head chef of the restaurant at the Foynes Flying Boat terminal in County Limerick, spiked his coffee in order to add a little “local hospitality.” The drink was then made famous by Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco Chronicle columnist Stanton Delaplane. And with a comforting blend of whiskey, coffee and cream, it’s easy to see why it has been a success for the past 70-odd years. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Pickleback

    Pickleback / Tim Nusog

    This boilermaker has become a cult classic over the past decade and a half, beginning as a popular shot for Brooklyn bartenders and spreading like wildfire to other cities around the world. In this recipe, brands really do matter: Jameson Irish whiskey followed with a chaser of McClure’s pickle brine is the true way to enjoy this savory shot-and-chaser combo. 

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • Tipperary

    Tipperary cocktail / Tim Nusog

    As one of the most famous Irish whiskey classics, the Tipperary has quite a reputation to uphold. The story goes that a guest walked into a bar humming “It’s a Long Road to Tipperary” and asked for a drink. The song was an anthem for homesick Irish soldiers during WWI, so naturally the resulting cocktail features whiskey in homage to Tipperary county in Ireland. The spirit is paired with sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse and Angostura bitters, then finished with the oils from an expressed orange peel.

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Buck

    Irish Buck / Tim Nusog

    Better known as a Whiskey Ginger, the Irish Buck is a simple but delicious highball. Following the classic spirit plus ginger ale plus citrus format that’s common for bucks, this recipe couldn’t be easier. Just take a bit of whiskey and freshly squeezed lime juice and add them into a Collins glass filled with ice, top with ginger ale and garnish with a lime wheel. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Hearn

    Hearn cocktail / Tim Nusog

    McGarry created this variation on the Tipperary, which uses equal parts Irish whiskey and vermouth to create a base that’s brightened with a bit of green Chartreuse. Absinthe highlights the drink’s herbal qualities, while bitters add depth and warm spice notes. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Shot

    Irish Shot / Tim Nusog

    It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for you to enjoy this classic beer-and-a-shot combo. Invented by Charles Burke Cronin Oat in 1979, this boilermaker requires only three simple ingredients: Irish whiskey, Baileys Irish cream and Guinness. The whiskey and Irish cream are layered in a shot glass, then dropped into a pint of the beer. Be sure to drink it quickly once you combine them—the acidic beer will curdle the cream if you let it sit for more than a few seconds.

    Get the recipe.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • Emerald

    Emerald / Tim Nusog

    If you take a Manhattan to Ireland, you’ll get the Emerald. Irish whiskey serves as the base, of course, and it’s given new life when combined with the rich flavors of sweet vermouth. A dash of orange bitters adds an extra punch of flavor and depth, while an orange twist makes for an elegantly simple garnish.

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Maid

    Irish Maid cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The Kentucky Maid was created by Sam Ross, the acclaimed New York bartender formerly of legendary hotspot Milk & Honey who’s also responsible for a host of modern classics. The Maid in particular kicked off a full family of drinks including this one, which pairs Irish whiskey with cucumber, lemon and St-Germain forming a twist on the Whiskey Smash that’s ideal on hot summer days—or any time at all really.

    Get the recipe.

  • Irish Old Fashioned

    Irish Old Fashioned / Tim Nusog 

    You’d be forgiven for assuming that this cocktail, another from McGarry, would be a mere simple Old Fashioned made with Irish whiskey rather than the usual bourbon or rye. And you’d almost be correct: Jameson Black Barrel and Angostura bitters take the unsurprising flavor lead in this drink, but they’re joined by a hefty splash of herbaceous Benedictine and a couple dashes of orange bitters as well, adding unexpected notes to the familiar cocktail.

    Get the recipe.

  • Dubliner

    Dubliner cocktail / Tim Nusog

    The Manhattan gets a citrusy spin in this cocktail. It borrows the city sophistication of its New York-named sibling, combining Irish whiskey with sweet vermouth, but gets a splash of orange-flavored Grand Marnier and a few dashes of orange bitters. A green maraschino cherry emphasizes the drink’s Emerald Isle ties. 

    Get the recipe.