Best Irish Coffee Mugs

Updated February 2021
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
178 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Irish coffee mugs

There are a few drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine in one refreshing beverage, and Irish coffee may be the most famous of them. Walk into any bar and you’ll be able to enjoy this mix of coffee, Irish whiskey, cream, and sugar. Not only is Irish coffee tasty, but it is also an attractive libation with visible layers, usually served in a distinctive glass mug.

With its curved handle, narrow shape, and styled base, the Irish coffee mug is a unique way to serve Irish coffee, but it can also be used for other heated beverages, such as mulled wine or hot chocolate. It is functional enough for everyday use and decorative enough for casual get-togethers or more formal parties.

This buying guide introduces you to the Irish coffee mug and includes everything you need to know before buying one. From capacity to quantity to price, we cover all the factors to consider to find the perfect Irish coffee mug for you. We also offer some of our favorite mugs and highlight what we like about them.

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One common origin story for the Irish coffee mug attributes its creation to Joe Sheridan, head chef of a County Limerick coffee shop, in 1943.

Key considerations

Quantity

While you can certainly buy a single Irish coffee mug, like other types of glassware, these mugs are also available in sets that typically range from 4 (most common) to 12. Note that some sellers offer a variety of sets of different sizes. When buying Irish coffee mugs, give some thought to the number you need, and then make sure that you’re choosing that number of mugs when you place your order. You can usually get a better price per glass if you buy a larger set.

Capacity

Irish coffee mugs also vary in the number of fluid ounces they hold, usually between 8 and 16 ounces. The consideration here is that a larger mug might be unwieldy, and the coffee might cool off before you can finish it.

Style

Some Irish coffee mugs are simple and suitable for everything from everyday use to dinner parties. Others are more ornate, with embossed scrolls, etching, stylized handles, and even Celtic designs. You might want to choose a set that matches glassware or other dinnerware you already have or choose a simple style that goes with everything. The more ornate Irish coffee mugs are usually more expensive.

Extras

Some manufacturers sell their Irish coffee mugs as part of a product line that includes other glassware, teapots, or dinnerware. If you’re in the market for a complete set of tableware and love the thought of coordinating everything, keep this in mind when you’re searching for Irish coffee mugs.

One reason that Irish coffee mugs are traditionally made of clear glass is because it shows off the layers of coffee and cream that the drink is known for.

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Features

Material

Most Irish coffee mugs are made of glass, although you might run across some made of stoneware or another material. The striking look of Irish coffee, with its cream layer floating over the mixture of coffee and whiskey, is what makes it distinctive, and clear glass is the best way to show it off.

But not all glass is created equal. Some mugs have thicker walls, which are more durable. Tempered glass also holds up better than standard glass. Glass that is thermal shock resistant can easily hold hot Irish coffee or iced coffee. Make sure the glass used in your Irish coffee mugs is lead-free.

Components

Double walls: While not standard, some Irish coffee mugs have double-walled construction, which means the body of your mug of hot coffee remains cool to the touch. These are typically more expensive than single-walled glassware, but it’s a desirable feature if you frequently enjoy hot beverages.

Body: The sides of Irish coffee mug are usually straight, but you can find some with concave sides.

Handle: You can hold the body of a double-walled mug full of hot Irish coffee without burning yourself, but a single-walled mug is too hot to safely hold this way. That’s why Irish coffee mugs have a handle. The handle should remain cool to the touch and large enough to comfortably hold. An Irish coffee mug can be decorative, and often is, but its main job is functional.

Base: Irish coffee mugs have a distinctive pedestal base, and this varies somewhat between decorative and plain, tall and short. The base should hold the mug level and stable.

irish coffee mugs2
DID YOU KNOW?
Tempered glass is four times stronger than standard glass. It’s used for safety glass as well as for products like some Irish coffee mugs.
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Irish coffee mug prices

Irish coffee mugs start at under $20 and can reach as high as $40 or more.

Inexpensive: Irish coffee mugs that cost less than $20 tend to be simple in design and contain fewer mugs per set, usually 2 or 4. These mugs can be thinner and less durable than more expensive mugs.

Mid-range: In the $20 to $25 range, you can find sets of 4 to 6 mugs. These are more durable than cheaper mugs, and some in this range are more ornate.

Expensive: The highest-quality Irish coffee mugs and the largest sets (6 to 12) cost $25 and more. You can also find tempered glass and double-walled mugs, as well as larger mugs and more elaborate designs in this price range.

The base on some Irish coffee mugs is large enough that they can be stored in an under-cabinet glass rack.

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Tips

  • Look for versatility. To increase the number of uses for your Irish coffee mugs, look for mugs that can be safely used in both the freezer and the microwave.
  • Think of the brand. When searching for a high-quality Irish coffee mug, give some thought to the brand. A well-known glassmaker that has been around for decades probably offers a better product and has better customer service than a no-name seller.
  • Choose the right size mug. The ideal drink size is an 8-ounce mug with 1 ounce of whiskey to 6 ounces of coffee. If you use a larger mug, your drink could get cold before you finish it.
  • Heat the mug before you make the drink. Fill it with hot water and let it sit for about a minute. This helps to keep the Irish coffee warm longer.
  • Add the cream gently. To achieve the proper cream layer on Irish coffee, slowly pour slightly whipped heavy cream over the back of an angled spoon.
  • Note the packaging. If you’re buying a set of Irish coffee mugs to give as a gift, check the packaging. Some mugs, particularly the more elegant ones, come in a decorative box.
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One way to achieve a more balanced Irish coffee flavor is to use instant coffee instead of a better-quality roasted coffee.

FAQ

Q. Can I wash these mugs in the dishwasher?

A. Most Irish coffee mugs, particularly those made of glass, are dishwasher safe. Those mugs made of tempered glass are several times stronger than standard glass and should do fine in the dishwasher. Note that any type of glassware should be washed in the upper rack only. That said, you might want to wash mugs with thin walls or decorative embossing by hand. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s care instructions before washing your mugs.

Q. Can Irish coffee mugs be microwaved?

A. Some can be microwaved, which means you can warm up a cold cup of coffee or make other types of drinks or desserts in the mugs. Make sure the packaging indicates the mugs are microwave safe before using them in one.

Q. Are Irish coffee mugs heavy?

A. While not that heavy overall, some mugs are thicker or larger and so will be heavier than thinner or smaller mugs. Most Irish coffee mugs weigh between 10 and 14 ounces empty. If you’re concerned about the weight, remember to factor in the weight (ounces) of the liquid in the mug too.

 

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