If you’ve noticed an uptick in the press about Irish cream in the food and beverage world, you’re not the only one.
Although newer in terms of alcoholic beverages, only having been around for a few decades, Irish cream has taken the world by storm, selling upwards of 50 million bottles every year. Most bars you visit will have it on their shelves these days. Everywhere you look, you’ll find someone else talking about another use they found for it.
If you’ve never had it before, you might be wondering, “What’s all the hype about? Just what does Irish cream taste like?” If you have yet to try it, you’re in for a treat. Today, we’re going to give you a full guide to this drink, how it became what it is today, and how you can get the most out of the experience of buying it.
If you’re looking for a tasty new liqueur to add to your repertoire that has some functions you wouldn’t find with any other, we found one for you.
A Brief History Of Irish Cream
This liqueur made its debut in the world in 1974. Hailing from, you guessed it, Ireland, Tom Jago and his team created the mixture while working for International Distillers & Vintners. They were looking to bring something new to the table in terms of the types of drinks they served and create a whiskey that, in their own words, “didn’t taste punishing.”
With the mixing of just a few simple ingredients, including Nesquik chocolate mix, and the 45 minutes it took to make the first batch, the men had no idea they were just about to introduce something to the world that would be known by people who were born long after they were gone. The first brand of this drink took on the name Baileys, inspired by the Bailey’s Hotel, which was originally the only place it could be bought from.
Since then, it has made a name for itself as one of the most prominent sweet-tasting drinks you can find.
What Type of Alcohol is Irish Cream?
All Irish cream has a base of whiskey mixed with some other ingredients. This makes it a whiskey-based liqueur.
The concoction that makes up Irish cream is considered a liqueur, not a liquor. There’s an important distinction between these alcoholic beverages!
First, a liqueur has significantly lower alcohol content than liquor. While liquor is typically 40 percent or more, liqueur caps at around 35 percent. Second, while sweetener is never added to the liquor, it is a defining trait of liqueur. Finally, while not always true for liqueurs, liquors will always be distilled.
How is it Made?
The five main ingredients of this drink are Irish whiskey, a cream made from the milk of an Irish cow, sugar, chocolate, and vanilla. This is in combination with any other additives intended to shift the flavor.
All it takes from there is about a minute in the blender. It’s so simple to make that many people have chosen to start creating their own.
What does Irish cream taste like?
All the ingredients we mentioned come together to create the smooth, decadent, creamy flavor that this liqueur is known for. It is known as one of the sweetest alcoholic beverages you can buy. The taste has often been compared to spiked cocoa. However, there is also a hint of fruitiness, which brings brightness to the taste and keeps the chocolate flavor from being overbearing.
If you know someone that has a sweet tooth, this would be a perfect gift for them.
Are there other Flavors of Irish Cream?
This liqueur is known for its original type, the chocolate and vanilla combination. However, there are other iterations of this drink, and new additions are being added as time goes on.
Here is a list of Bailey’s Irish cream flavors you can purchase as of now.
- Salted caramel
- Strawberries and cream
- Espresso creme
- Red velvet cupcake
- Pumpkin spice
As you can see, there’s something for everyone in regard to what Irish cream tastes like. And don’t forget that these different flavors can also be mixed together to create a delightful combination.
There’s a variety of flavors it can come in, but they all have one consistent theme. They are meant to be a dessert drink, and therefore the flavors should always express that sentiment.
What Is the Alcohol Content?
Despite its pleasant taste, this is not a liqueur to underestimate. It has an ABV of 15 to 20 percent.
Depending on your weight, height, gender, and other factors, results will vary, but for most people, it takes three to four shots to start feeling the effects. Take this into consideration when deciding the amount you will drink to prevent excessive drunkenness and hangovers.
While the right amount of alcohol can be a fun and relaxing experience, too much can be detrimental to your physical and mental well-being.
What Does Irish Cream Taste Like When It’s of Good Quality?
We want you to have the experience of what Irish cream should taste like. That’s why we’re going to show you the main attributes of good Irish cream.
- Good balance of taste. A good Irish cream should not be too sweet, nor should the taste of alcohol be too powerful. It should be a perfect blend of sweet and strong. If there is an imbalance in either direction in the taste, you haven’t found the right type.
- Decadent Flavor. This is one of the most defining traits of this drink mixture. This liqueur should feel soft and soothing going down.
- Milky Texture. The consistency needs to be smooth and creamy, similar to milk.
- A slightly fruity finish. This is a byproduct of the Irish whiskey that is used.
What Does Irish Cream Taste Like When It Has Gone Bad?
It’s not only unpleasant to taste a liqueur that has expired – it can also cause the extreme discomfort of an upset stomach. Here are some signs that it’s time to throw this bottle out.
- Change in color. Think about how expired milk takes on a yellowish hue. Irish cream will do the same thing because the dairy products used in the mixture have spoiled.
- Chunky texture. Again, this is because of the expired milk.
- This liqueur normally gives off a gentle, sweet, chocolaty aroma. When it has gone bad, this lovely smell will be twisted into a pungent, sour smell.
- Bitter Taste. While the taste of whiskey should be present, Irish cream should never, under any circumstances, taste bitter. That is the complete opposite of what it is supposed to be. If this is what you taste, stop drinking it immediately and dispose of it.
How Long Does Irish Cream Last?
If you keep it at room temperature, it will last around three months. If refrigerated, its lifespan can be anywhere from twelve to eighteen months. This is why, if you plan to keep it around for a long time, it needs to be kept in a cool environment.
However, even this comes with a drawback. Any time you change the temperature of any consumable product, you are also changing its molecules. This means you will be unable to recreate the exact taste it had when you first bought it.
If you want it to maintain the exact composition and taste you started with, keeping it at room temperature is just fine. It will not cause any harm if you plan to use it all quickly.
How do People Usually Drink It?
Some people like to drink it by themselves with a couple of ice cubes to cool it down. In bar language, this is known as “on the rocks.” Many people have a preference for this style. However, a caveat to this method is that you also experience an alcoholic taste.
It’s fine if that’s your preference, but if you’re going for a purely sweet taste, you’re going to need to mix it with other substances.
What are some good cocktails to make with Irish Cream?
One of the best things about having this liqueur on hand is its versatility with what kind of drinks you can create with it. You might think this drink is limited to fall and winter, but it can just as easily be a Saturday morning lounging drink at any time of the year. Irish coffee is the most popular cocktail this liqueur is used for.
Other popular creations include White Russians, chocolate martinis, mudslides, cappuccinos, and hot chocolate. While many liqueurs lose their flavor when exposed to heat, Irish cream can thrive under such conditions.
Are there any good cooking uses for Irish Cream?
It can be an extremely effective ingredient in many forms of baking. All you have to do is mix it in with the batter. Another way it has been used to create desserts is to include it in cake icing. It has also been used to complement ice creams, such as mixing the liquid into a decadent syrup.
You don’t have to worry about anyone becoming intoxicated, as the high temperatures of the oven will cook out the alcohol content. It pairs especially well with chocolate-flavored desserts, but it can complement any type you have in mind.
In short, Irish cream can be used in the creation of any dessert, along with the potential to be a fantastic dessert all on its own.
However, that’s not the end of its uses in the kitchen. It has been used to make creamy sauces for savory dishes, such as chicken, pasta, and pork chops. The sweet flavors will be cooked down enough to serve the dishes but remain just enough to add depth to the flavor and intrigue those who taste it.
Where Can I Buy Irish Cream?
Almost any liquor store you could visit will carry Irish cream. If you aren’t having any luck at your local stores, you can also order it online. Just be prepared to come to the door when it is delivered to provide your ID and a signature, as is almost always the case whenever you order alcohol online.
If you’re wondering what type you should buy, the most notable type is Baileys. It is the most widely used and is the most likely to be recommended to you. However, there are other brands as well if you want to explore your options. Many supermarkets carry a store-brand variant.
Is there anything you should not combine with Irish Cream?
Since Irish cream is, at its root, whiskey, you’ll need to learn what whiskey does not go well with, whether because of taste or effects. It will cooperate with many other substances, but there are three you should avoid.
The first one is soda water. If combined with a whiskey-based drink, it can give you a headache because the carbonation will mix poorly with it.
If you’re going to drink whiskey, do not drink beer in the same instance. You might’ve heard sayings about this combination before, and they hold true. This combination, even as separate drinks, will quickly dehydrate your body. This will cause you to become drunk much quicker than you ordinarily would.
Finally, avoid mixing with heavily citrus-based cocktails. Citrus fruits like lemons and limes are cocktail mainstays, but they’re highly acidic and don’t mix well with creamy drinks.
What Works Well With Irish Cream?
Now, on a more positive note – let’s discuss the best things to add to Irish cream.
- Ginger. This root has proven to mix extremely well with whiskey-based spirits.
- Apple cider. The apple flavor brings out the sweetness of the liqueur while negating the harsher aftertaste that many people want to avoid.
- Ice cream. The effect is similar to an adult milkshake.
- This is a herbal flavored Italian liquor. It brings depth to the sweetness of the Irish cream while the cream softens the harsher edges of the Amaro flavor. Your friends will be dying to know what lovely concoction you just introduced them to. Get ready to garner a reputation as a cocktail master.
- Root beer. These two liquids combine to create what many describe as being similar to cream soda.
Irish Cream Health Benefits
You might be thinking, “there’s no such thing.” However, in controlled amounts, Irish cream has been suggested to help calm an upset stomach. In fact, it has even been historically used as a treatment for this condition.
Who said a delicious drink can’t also be good for your health? Of course, no alcoholic beverage should be used for health purposes, but there are some speculative claims about Irish cream.
It has also been reported to help on the mental health front. It’s been reported to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles similar to these. Again, we advocate for controlled amounts.
One of the most fascinating discoveries about this liqueur is that its use has even been correlated with the slowing of tumor growth. This is due to the ellagic acids that the whiskey contains.
Is There An Option for Those With Dietary Restrictions?
Baileys has come out with vegan iterations of the products, using substitutions for the milk. This gives those who cannot drink dairy products, whether due to diet or allergies, can have the experience of knowing what Irish cream tastes like.
Final Thoughts: A Delightful Addition to Your Cabinet
So what does Irish cream taste like? In short: a warm hug.
It has earned its place in the heart of the food and drink industry for its whimsical taste, its vast variety of uses, and its ability to dress up on any occasion. It can stand on its own or take a step back gracefully to complement a mixed drink. Either way, its sweet, creamy flavors will walk you straight back to a simpler time.
Despite its definite hail to the colder seasons, it has proven itself to be timeless, and up for any task you want to put it to. There’s a place for Irish cream every day of the year.