Irish Coffee Ice Cream for St. Patrick’s Day

Do you have a favourite day of the year? One that isn’t your birthday or Christmas?

For me, St. Patrick’s Day has always been my favourite day of the year. I love the green and the glitter, the shamrocks and the leprechauns, the Guinness (not the taste but the cooking possibilities) and the music, not to mention that I have a long lived obsession with Ireland, and…ah…Irishmen. It’s the accent and it’s genetic.

When I was in school the tale of St. Patrick enthralled me, and pictures of the emerald green isle where the sea crashes harshly against sheer rock faces and the hills roll down and around and gently cup charming farmhouses stood in sharp contrast to the wide golden land of my reality.

Ireland has long been on my list of places to go and I will get there someday. For now, I stick to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with all my might and reading Maeve Binchy  novels.


Now, I know St Patrick’s Day is still a week and a bit away, but sometimes you make something and you just can’t wait to share it – this Irish Coffee Ice Cream is one of those recipes. And when it comes to ice cream, a little forethought and preparation goes a long way to ensure the end product is successful.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This ice cream is rich, thick and smooth and all-encompassing. This is not ice cream that you eat while sitting on the couch watching ‘Leap Year’. This ice cream demands attention. The coffee comes through strongly, so if you aren’t a huge coffee fan you could reduce the amount of beans to one or even half a cup. The whisky here is non-negotiable if you want to call it Irish Coffee (as defined by the National Standards Authority of Ireland), but if you choose to leave it out, you could increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and have a very decent coffee-flavoured ice cream instead. Use good whisky here too. You don’t need a lot, but use something that you like to drink because you will taste the whisky in the finished product.

This only makes a small batch, but you only need a dainty scoop of this smooth, thick cloud of creamy frozen custard to feel satisfactorily indulged.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Irish Coffee Ice Cream

Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

Note: This recipe provides the instructions for making ice cream with an ice cream maker. If you do not own an ice cream maker, never fear use these instructions from the King of Ice Cream David Lebovitz (

If you are using an ice cream maker, remember to place the ice cream maker bowl into the freezer 24 hours in advance.


  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¾ cup raw sugar
  • 1 ½ cups coffee beans
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • 5 egg yolks at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Irish Whisky


  1. Heat milk, raw sugar, coffee beans, salt and cream in a sauce pan until warmed through and letting off steam – do not let this come to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for one hour. If you want a less strong coffee flavour, steep less beans for a shorter amount of time.
  3. After steeping has occurred fill a large bowl with ice and a bit of water and settle a medium size bowl into the ice. Place a fine metal sieve over the medium bowl.
  4. In a separate medium size bowl whisk egg yolks together.
  5. Reheat milk mixture until warm again. Do not boil.
  6. Slowly, whisk a small amount of heated milk into the egg yolks. Continue whisking and pouring heated milk mixture into egg yolks. We want to keep whisking pouring slowly to prevent the yolks from cooking.
  7. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. You are now halfway through making the custard!
  8. Place saucepan on a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. This can take up to ten minutes. Just keep stirring. The mixture should coat the back of the spoon and you should be able to draw a clear line through the coating that doesn’t disappear immediately.
  9. Once your custard has thickened, remove mixture from the heat.
  10. Pour custard through the strainer to remove the coffee beans. Discard the beans.
  11. Stir in vanilla and whisky.
  12. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled down.
  13. Wrap bowl tightly and chill in refrigerator overnight.
  14. The next day, remove custard from fridge and freeze as per ice cream maker’s instructions.
  15. After churning the ice cream, freeze for about four hours (if you can wait that long!) then scoop into bowls and garnish with shaved dark chocolate and some whipped cream if you are feeling extra naughty!

I know this seems a very long process, but the end result is extremely rewarding.

So dear reader, how do you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I’ll be wearing green and cooking colcannon for dinner, oh, and listening to Westlife on my morning run…

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

9 thoughts on “Irish Coffee Ice Cream for St. Patrick’s Day

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  2. Your ice cream looks deee.vine. I adore coffee and am IN LOVE with ice cream, so this is heaven to me. I’m still to decide on what to make for St. Pat’s. but I’m thinking colcannon on a stick… and listening to The Cranberries.

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    • This ice cream was amazing for sure – and it packs a good ole’ Irish punch 😉 I made mint choc chip ice cream over the summer and it was a hit too. I can’t wait until I can get my ice cream maker out of storage and start whipping up some more! Good luck with your ice cream endeavors! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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