In 1988, the National Standards Authority of Ireland published Irish Standard I.S. 417: Irish Coffee.
Although whiskey, coffee and cream are the basic ingredients in all Irish coffee, variations in preparation exist. The choice of coffee and the methods used for brewing it differ significantly. The use of espresso machines or fully automatic coffee brewers is now typical: the coffee is either a caffe americano (espresso diluted with hot water) or some kind of filter coffee, often made using a coffee capsule.
The cream used by some bars to make what is sold as "Irish coffee" is sometimes sprayed from a can. Some bartenders gently shake fresh cream to achieve a smooth layer atop the coffee.
In Spain, Irish Coffee (cafew irlandes) is sometimes served with a bottom layer of whiskey, a separate coffee layer, and a layer of cream on top; special devices are sold for making it.
Some bars in Southeast Asia serve a cocktail of iced coffee and whiskey, sometimes without cream, under the name "Irish Coffee."
Many drinks of hot coffee with a distilled spirit, and cream floated on top-liqueur coffees-are given names derived from Irish coffee, although the names are not standardised. Irish Cream Coffee(a.k.a Bailey's Coffee) can be considered a variant of Irish Coffee but involves the use of Irish Cream as a "pre-mixed" substitute for the whisky, cream and sugar. Jamaican coffee would be expected to be made with rum. Highland coffee, also called Gaelic coffee, with Scotch whisky, and so on.