Ahhhh, Irish cream, a delightful concoction of cream, sugar and Irish whiskey that tickles the taste buds with sweetness, a hint of hazelnut flavor and just enough bite to warm you on a cold winter’s day. The most famous brand is Baileys, which also has a caramel and a mint chocolate version.
Other notable brands include Carolans, St. Brendan’s (my personal favorite), McCormick and Molly’s. The liquor, officially created in the 1970s, is delicious poured over the rocks with no other frills, but it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient in cocktails, desserts and coffee, too.
Want to try some new drinks out this St. Patty’s Day? Include some Irish Cream in your White Russians and Mudslides or try a lovely little drink called a B-28 (Irish cream, amaretto, kahlua and butterscotch schnapps). If you really want to get your green on and have some fresh breath, too, try Baileys, crème de menthe and milk on the rocks.
If you’re a vodka lover, try mixing two parts Baileys, a couple drips of chocolate syrup and one part raspberry vodka in a shaker with ice for a delicious martini; garnish with fresh raspberries. If you like creamsicles, try a shot of Baileys and Cointreau, but don’t make the mistake of mixing Irish cream with orange juice unless you want a really funky cottage-cheese thing.
In recent years, the most popular drink featuring the liquor is the Irish Car Bomb. How do you do it? Pour half a glass of Guinness into a pint glass. Fill a separate shot glass with half Baileys and Jameson Irish Whiskey. When you’re ready, drop the shot glass into the beer and drink it as fast as you can. (The slower you drink, the more chance the Baileys will have to curdle.)
Irish cream is excellent as a vanilla or chocolate ice cream topper and can be baked into cookies, brownies, cakes and truffles. If you fancy yourself a chef, try a couple of my favorite recipes:
Easy Baileys Fudge: In a saucepan, melt ¾ cup of butter, ½ cup evaporated milk, 3 cups of sugar, and a 7-ounce jar of marshmallow fluff. When the mixture starts to bubble, add a teaspoon of instant coffee and 1/3 cup Baileys. Boil for 5 minutes and then remove the pan from heat. Stir in one package of white chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir until smooth and pour into a foil-lined brownie pan. Chill in the fridge until the fudge sets, remove the foil and cut into squares.
Bailey’s Poke Cake: Mix a package of chocolate or white cake mix (whatever you feel like having), one package vanilla instant pudding mix, ½ cup canola or vegetable oil, ¾ cup of Baileys and 4 eggs together in bowl. Add ½ cup chopped pecans or almonds (optional) to the mix and stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. Let cool. Once cooled, remove the cake from the pan and use a butter knife to poke holes throughout the top of the cake. In a pan, melt 3 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup Baileys. Boil the mixture until the sugar is dissolved and then pour the glaze over the top of the cake.
Whether you choose to mix it, eat it or drink it straight up, Irish cream is great for those who have a bit of a sweet tooth, and it has endless possibilities. Experiment with some ideas of your own.