Hot coffee served with some good Irish whiskey, a sprinkle of hawaij, and a dollop of coconut cream for a truly delicious (and accidentally!) vegan Irish coffee.

Vegan Irish Coffee with Coconut Cream & Hawaij | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Vegan Irish Coffee | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Chemex Coffee | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

The first time I had a true Irish coffee was at an insanely packed pub in Galway. It was frigid outside, I had just finished eating a haloumi burger at this amazing restaurant on the main road, and I needed something warm and alcoholic. A local I befriended insisted that this tiny pub was the only place to get a proper Irish coffee. (I learned on my travels that it is vastly important to become friends with locals because they know the best places to get an authentic Guinness or steak pie. Without such knowledge, you may end up eating mediocre dishes, and your foodie experience will forever be tainted).

Until this trip, I had only tasted Irish coffee made with Bailey’s or Kahlua. So I was under the impression that this was the norm. One night, in college, my friends and I drank a bit too much and decided to make Bailey’s from scratch. (In case you were wondering, it ended horrendously and was a huge waste of our $15 bottle of whiskey). But, that night in an Irish pub, while crammed in a tiny booth next to a crowd of burly, loud, rugby-playing Irish men, I learned of the beauty of an authentic Irish coffee.

Chemex Coffee Pour | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Now, I will totally ruin that lovely imagery, because the recipe I am sharing with you today is totally not authentic. At its core, this vegan Irish coffee is inspired by its traditional cousin (whiskey + coffee + whipped cream on top). But, this version uses coconut cream and coffee hawaij to give it a warm, spiced twist. And, coincidentally, it’s a vegan Irish coffee! Which totally wasn’t the goal, but like, now we can all have fun this St. Paddy’s Day!!

Personally, my favorite hawaij recipe is Molly Yeh’s, and I like to make a big batch and keep it in my pantry. But you can also just make a small amount if you prefer. This recipe only requires a few pinches. If you don’t want to go through the effort of making hawaij, you can always just add a pinch each of cinnamon and cardamom. That will still give you the warm spiciness without the extra work. But, I think taking a few minutes to make hawaij for vegan Irish coffee is 100% worth it.

In terms of coffee (because you know I care) I used a medium-roasted Brazil, becuase Brazil coffees tend to be pretty tame. That is, they won’t have any insanely distinct flavors (like an Ethiopian natural, for example). So, the vegan Irish coffee will taste strong on the whiskey, as it should. Plus, Brazils tend to have nutty, chocolate-y flavors which I think goes amazing with the hawaij. Just use what you can find at your local coffeeshop or grocery store!

Lastly, I don’t know if it’s nostalgia getting to me, but I think drinking Irish coffee is best at night. I know many people have an aversion to drinking coffee after 2 p.m. And I get it. But if it’s a rainy, quiet Saturday night, I can’t think of anything better than an Irish coffee to warm me up and make me feel cozy. Alternatively, vegan Irish coffee would be completely amazing with a good potato hash (minus the bacon + runny eggs in vegan spirit??). So really, Irish coffee is appropriate any time of the day. Hooray!!

Irish Coffee with Coconut Cream & Hawaij | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Vegan Irish Coffee with Coconut Cream + Hawaij

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Vegan Irish Coffee with Coconut Cream + Hawaij

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Hot coffee, Irish whiskey, a pinch of warm hawaij, and a dollop of coconut cream make a super comforting, cozy cocktail. I like to serve mine for dessert or brunch!!


Whipped Coconut Cream

  • 1 can coconut cream (or milk), chilled for at least 3 hours or overnight
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Vegan Irish Coffee

  • 6 oz hot brewed coffee
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1/4 tsp hawaij, to taste


  • Spoon out the solid bits of the coconut cream (or milk) into a medium, chilled bowl. Reserve the remaining liquid. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla to the solid coconut cream. Lightly whip until combined. Add the reserved liquid from the coconut cream, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until you get a slightly runny, lightly whipped consistency. You want to be able to spoon it over the coffee while still maintaining its shape. Refrigerate, unless you are using it right away.
  • In a coffee mug, combine the hot coffee and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey, and 1/8 teaspoon of hawaij. You can add up to 1/4 teaspoon depending on your taste. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of whipped coconut cream over the top. Serve immediately.


The coconut cream and a medium bowl will need to be chilled at least a few hours for this recipe, so plan ahead!
Cuisine: Irish
Course: Drinks
Serving: 1coffee, Calories: 177kcal, Carbohydrates: 10.2g, Protein: 0.6g, Fat: 3.6g, Saturated Fat: 3.2g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 141mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 9.3g, Calcium: 19mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag on Instagram!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: The World is Watching by Two Door Cinema Club

Vegan Irish Coffee | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Vegan Irish Coffee with Coconut Cream & Hawaij | Serendipity by Sara Lynn