10 Best Irish Cocktails

Whiskey Tonic

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Irish drinks are filled with the spirit of the land from which they hail. Ireland produces alcohol that is famous worldwide, and the Irish lay claims to the invention of whiskey (though Scots will vehemently dispute that). Adding to that prestige, Guinness and Irish cream are standards in bars worldwide.

There are not many well-known cocktails specifically created in Ireland. However, there is no shortage of recipes that feature Irish-made liquor and beer. Whether you're celebrating St. Patrick's Day or just want to explore Ireland's well-crafted alcohol, there's an Irish cocktail that's perfect for the occasion.

  • 01 of 10

    Irish Coffee

    Original Irish Coffee Recipe

    The Spruce

    As Ireland's most famous cocktail, it's hard to ignore the excellence of a well-made Irish coffee. This is an Irish original, and you have not really enjoyed Irish coffee until you've tried it the way Joe Sheridan first made it in the 1940s.

    Sometimes a drink's popularity makes it seem out of reach, but this one's actually quite simple when you break it down: Choose a great Irish whiskey, brew a strong cup of coffee, add some brown sugar, and top it with lightly whipped cream. No other coffee cocktail matches the wonder of these four simple ingredients.

  • 02 of 10


    Pickleback Shot Recipe

    The Spruce

    Jameson is the top-selling Irish whiskey in the world and it is the star of the pickleback. A modern creation, this simple two-part drink has been a favorite hangover cure for quite some time. When a Brooklyn bartender named it in 2006, the pickleback quickly grabbed the world's attention.

    There are no secrets to a pickleback—it's a shot of Jameson chased by a shot of pickle juice. You can get fancy with the brine or just grab the pickle jar in your fridge. While simple, there's something magical about the duo that keeps drinkers coming back for more.

  • 03 of 10

    Irish Manhattan

    Irish Whiskey Manhattan

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    Every spirit has its version of the martini. When you have a top-shelf Irish whiskey to show off, the Irish Manhattan is the way to go. Irish whiskey is renowned for its smoothness, and this recipe does that justice with the simple enhancement of sweet vermouth and bitters. It's an excellent dinner drink and even better with a well-aged single malt or pot-still Irish whiskey.

  • 04 of 10

    Whiskey Tonic

    Whiskey Tonic

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    Move over gin, Irish whiskey is here to take over the tonic scene. The whiskey tonic is an effortless mixed drink that pairs Irish whiskey with tonic water. The whiskey's light, fruity oakiness is enhanced with tonic's dry bitterness, and the lemon garnish brightens up the mix wonderfully. Serve this one with some traditional Irish foods and you're in for an unforgettable dining experience.

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  • 05 of 10

    Irish Ale

    Irish Ale Cocktail Recipe

    The Spruce

    The whiskey ginger is a sweet highball, but when you're in the mood for something with a real snap, mix up an Irish ale. You might recognize this as an Irish mule; like any "mule" mixed drink, ginger beer is the signature ingredient. With the variety of quality Irish whiskies and ginger beers available, you can mix and match the two to create endless combinations. Each will have its own subtleties, and it's fun to explore the possibilities.

  • 06 of 10

    Black Velvet

    Black Velvet Hero

    The Spruce / Emily Baker

    Guinness is Ireland's most famous beer internationally. Many drinkers enjoy the dark stout and it is surprisingly useful in food recipes. When you crave a "pint of the black stuff" but want to lighten it up, make a black velvet. With no mixing involved, the 19th-century recipe simply pours chilled stout and Champagne into a flute. The dueling tastes accent each other very well and it's a fantastic way to toast any celebration.

  • 07 of 10

    Black and Gold

    Black and tan beer

    The Spruce

    In its homeland of Ireland, Guinness is not necessarily king. That title typically goes to Harp, Ireland's famous Dublin-brewed lager, though the country has an amazing craft beer scene, too. Magner's Irish Cider (known as Bulmers in Ireland) also consistently ranks at the top of Irish drinkers' list.

    Bring these two Irish favorites into the same glass as Guinness with layered beer drinks. As variations on the black and tan, when Guinness is poured over Harp the drink is called a half and half. Switch that bottom layer out to Magner's and you have a black and gold. They're all fun to make and a great excuse to sharpen your bar skills.

  • 08 of 10

    Guinness and Green Jelly Shot

    Guinness & Green Jell-O Shots

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    Guinness jelly is a real thing, and it's rather tasty. Skip the condiment version and have fun bringing it into the world of Jell-O shots!

    The beer is mixed with Irish whiskey to create the Guinness and green jelly shots' base layer. It's topped with a green gelatin layer spiked with Irish cream to complete the Irish-themed party drink. It comes together as quickly as gelatin sets and is almost as much fun to make as it is to share with friends.

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  • 09 of 10

    Green Tea Shot

    Green Tea Shot With Jameson Irish Whiskey

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    Irish whiskey is a good match for a variety of cocktail mixers. One of the more unusual combos is on full display in these little green tea shots. There is no tea involved and it doesn't taste like tea, either. Instead, the shot looks like green tea and is actually a mix of whiskey, peach schnapps, sour mix, and lemon-lime soda. It's a delicious shooter and goes down far easier than even the smoothest shot of whiskey.

  • 10 of 10

    Irish Eyes

    Irish Eyes Cocktail

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

    A bottle of Irish cream—whether it's Baileys, Carolan's, or any other brand—opens up a world of cocktail possibilities. It's one of the most commonly used bottles in the bar and mixes well with almost anything. While you can use dairy cream, making this Irish eyes cocktail with Ireland's signature cream liqueur turns it into a real Irish delight.

    A delicious green cocktail, you'll also need Irish whiskey and green crème de menthe to pull it off. Shake it up, serve it on the rocks, and enjoy the sweet taste of this fun Irish whiskey cocktail.