Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce

Rich with coffee and Irish Whiskey, this is an over the top variation of caramel sauce that is outstanding!

Bowls of Ice Cream topped with Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I had this grand design to make Irish whiskey caramels for this years St. Patrick’s Day treat but quickly segued to the idea of making this Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce with Irish Whiskey and that was a good thing. So much easier and I think more versatile too!

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I’m only a fourth Irish but it’s enough for me to look at this holiday as a must have; it helps I love the food and drink from Ireland. Considering today is my cocktail day, it would seem the perfect opportunity to make an Irish Coffee for you but I’ve done that before so it had to be something different; a bit more unique.

A Spoon Drizzling Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce into a White Ceramic Pitcher

I don’t have a process for developing a recipe; sometimes the best ideas come to me while in the middle of preparing a dish and that was the case here. If I wasn’t going to make Irish coffee; then I would make an Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce.

The hint of warm whiskey permeates the end result in a way that is reminiscent of the experience of drinking an Irish coffee. A bit of brown sugar in the sauce completes the transition. I’ve made my fair share of caramel sauces infused with booze; this is by far my favorite. By FAR!

As if this caramel sauce isn’t decadent enough; I wanted a bit of texture too so I whipped up a batch of candied walnuts using espresso. They are absolutely good enough to eat on their own. I know this for a fact; I should have made more.

Bowl full of Espresso Pecans for Garnish

Caramel sauces can be tricky and while it takes a bit longer, I’m of the camp that likes to start combining a bit of water with the sugar; also adding a small amount of corn syrup helps to prevent the sauce from crystallizing and I’ve had great success with this method.

Since I wanted a taste reminiscent of Irish Coffee, I used half granulated and half brown sugar in this recipe. Pay close attention to the color of the sauce when you start as it will already be brown; as it starts to darken you’ll want to give it a bit more leeway on color.

It will get darker than normal but this does not mean it’s burning. I took a quick photo of mine in process and it’s a bit like a darker copper penny.

Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce on the Stovetop

I’ve got dessert now for tonight but I have to share this Cabbage and Bacon Colcannon with Irish Whiskey Steak that I”m making for dinner. I posted it last year and if you’ve never heard of Colcannon, this might be a good time to discover it.

A fantastic blend of mashed potatoes and cabbage; my version has bacon too. I accompanied it with steak with Irish Whiskey sauce; I think I’ve been waiting all year to have it again!

A bowl of ice cream topped with Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce

Have a fun and safe (yep that’s the mom in me!) St. Paddy’s Day. Sláinte!

PIN IT! Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce’

Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce on Vanilla Ice Cream with Espresso Nuts

Bowls of Ice Cream topped with Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce

Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce with Irish Whiskey and Espresso

Creative Culinary
Rich with coffee and Irish Whiskey, this Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce is outstanding.
5 average from less than 50 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Salads, Dressings, Marinades and Sauces
Calories 164.07 kcal


For the Caramel Sauce:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp Irish whiskey
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp dried Espresso
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water

For the Walnut Crumble:

  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup walnut pieces coarsely chopped

To Serve:

  • Put 2 small scoops of ice cream in a bowl; sprinkle with a large spoonful of the walnut crisp mixture. Top with another scoop of ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. Sprinkle additional walnut crumble on top. Serve.


  • Combine the cream, Irish Whiskey, butter and espresso. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds on medium heat, just til the butter melts, set aside.
  • In a large saucepan or skillet combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar and corn syrup in the middle of the pan.
  • Add water to surround other ingredients (we want to keep sugar off the edges). Put your pan over medium heat and stir with a spatula until the sugars melt and the liquid starts to bubble.
  • Remove your spatula and let the mixture come to a boil; DO NOT STIR.
  • Cook over medium heat; watching closely ( not walk away!). Cook until the color of a dark penny. Since this sauce begins with brown sugar it will be a bit darker than normal caramel but not burnt.
  • Once the caramel is dark amber in color remove it from the heat and carefully pour in the cream mixture. The mixture will bubble vigorously and some of the caramel may harden but just continue to warm over medium low heat until it melts and becomes cohesive.
  • Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool.

To Make the Walnut Crumble:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F and make sure a rack is in the middle of the oven.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray foil with cooking spray.
  • Whisk the egg white with brown sugar, espresso powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl until blended.
  • Stir in the chopped walnuts and mix until coated; spread the mixture into the prepared pan, forming an 8" X 10" solid layer.
  • Bake until dry to the touch, about 25 minutes; mixing everything up halfway through baking. Remove from oven and cool completely on a baking rack.
  • When cool, loosen mixture with a spatula and remove from the pan; break into small bite-size pieces.


This mixture is extremely hot; I recommend you do not do this with babies or pets on the floor around you. Do not taste test the caramel until it has cooled; you will burn your tongue!


Nutrition Facts
Irish Coffee Caramel Sauce with Irish Whiskey and Espresso
Serving Size
1 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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  1. i love irish whiskey to cook with its so versatile also good in coffee i was a bartender so if you want to make it right pour irish whiskey in cup light and pour in coffee then sugar cream and top with shaved light whiskey its best to use long matches or bbq lighter

  2. This looks awesome! I love caramel. Happy Belated St Patricks Day. My father is from Dublin so I do have some Irish blood running through my veins. Happy to have found your blog. Emma xx

    1. Thanks Emma; I’m glad you found me too! I would love to get to Dublin one day; it sounds beautiful.

  3. I do believe I too could consume all of this by myself. 😉 It also looks like a delicious idea for host/hostess gifts or for including in holiday goodie boxes along with a small tin or bag of the walnut crumble. This is going to be fun, learning to master the caramel. 🙂

    1. I think it would be perfect too Skye; I would love you forever if you gave me a gift like that! 🙂 The caramel really is made easy if you start with water and that put of syrup…the only real challenge is differentiating from the brown of the sugar water and the caramel from the sugar cooking but if you watch it closely it should not be a problem to discern the difference. Enjoy!

  4. Oh my goodness! I’m ready to drool all over my keyboard. You really know the way to my heart and caramel is DEFINITELY the way. Pair that with booze, espresso, ice cream … I’m in heaven!

  5. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    What a treat! This looks so good…I’ve got to save this and try it soon. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Thank you for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.


  6. G’day and UBER yum!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Thanks for sharing at the Foodie Friends Friday No Rules Party!

  7. Goodness, this looks good. I think I would eat it ALL. In one sitting. How did you contain yourself? I wouldn’t have had any left for a photo!

  8. I’m only a small % Irish, but on St. Pat’s Day we’re all Irish, IMO. This looks like a terrific dessert — who doesn’t like a boozy sauce over ice cream? I do, at least. And vanilla ice cream is such a great backdrop for all the great flavor you’ve piled on. Good stuff. 😉 Thanks.

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