Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Fernet-Spiked Irish Coffee With Lemon Cream) Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Swapping out the booze in a traditional Irish coffee opens up a world of flavor combinations.

This flavor combination may not appeal to those who don't love the minty-bitter flavor of Fernet Branca, but for those who do, this riff on a classic Irish coffee is sure to blow their socks off. Here, fernet's strong medicinal kick is boosted with a wonderfully perky lemon whipped cream. The result is a potent brew with loud, bright flavors that will send a jolt through your brain and your digestive tract, far more effectively than either caffeine or fernet could ever do alone.

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Makes: 1 drink

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  • 6 ounces (175ml) hot black coffee
  • 2 ounces (60ml) Fernet Branca
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) 2:1 simple syrup (see note)
  • 1 recipe Lemon Chantilly
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)


  1. Combine hot coffee, fernet, and simple syrup in a prewarmed mug. (You can prewarm it by pouring hot water into it, letting it stand for 1 minute, then draining.) Using a spoon, dollop chantilly on top of coffee and top with lemon zest, if using. Serve right away. (Note that you may have more whipped cream than the mug can accommodate; feel free to add more as you drink, or use some for the next round.)


To make a 2:1 simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup (120g) granulated sugar with 1/4 cup (60ml) water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is fully dissolved. In these recipes, you can add the syrup hot, since the drinks are hot; any extra can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, and often longer.

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