How to Make Irish Cream

Irish Cream, or better known to many as “Bailey’s” is dead easy to make at home.

Now, you might be thinking “But adding alcohol to dairy is going to make it curdle!” And you are right. You might think “EEW gross!” but think about it this way: if you are buying Bailey’s and it’s not curdling and can be left warm on a liquor store shelf for months at a time, what are they putting in it to keep it from doing that?

Now that we’ve established that it will curdle, how do we prevent that? Aside from keeping it in the fridge, a nice hearty shake of the container will bring it back to its luscious velvety state in no time. I tested this out when my handy dandy mason jar was full of homemade Irish Cream, half full, and even when there was only a couple ounces left. No matter how lumpy it started, it always reverted to the desired texture after shaking.

Next question: does it taste as good as the original? HELL YES. I’m not exaggerating. I would even say it tastes better than the original, simply because it’s fresher. Mine tasted a little bit less sweet (which I’ll discuss below the recipe),  but that didn’t change the authenticity of the flavour all that much.

Of course, you must be wondering: “But how will it taste and mix into my coffee?” Again, exactly like the original.

However, the best part about making it home: you have to use Irish whiskey. Which means that not only are you given the power to choose which Irish whiskey you use, but you’ll have some left over after you make it. My biggest hesitation to buying Irish Cream or any other liqueur I would largely have simply to put into coffee, is that I’m going to drop $30 on something I use infrequently. Irish whiskey however, is far more versatile. I could mix that in anything or just drink it straight up; the possibilities are endless!

The recipe I used from sourced from All Recipes, and I knew it was good because my friend made it for me and gave it to me as a birthday present. She also used soy milk and cream, though I am not certain how she found a non-dairy replacement for the condensed milk, or if that hadn’t been taken into consideration.

I tested it out at half the recommended yield (4 cups on the recipe page), as I wanted to ensure I would enjoy it. The great thing about All Recipes is you can specify what yield you want and it automatically modifies all the quantities for you.

“Original” Irish Cream Recipe
Makes 2 cups

  • 1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream (35% MF)
  • 7 oz condensed milk (half a 14 oz can)
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

In a blender, combine whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, Irish wIrish Cream Gift Bottlehiskey, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Blend on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving. Keeps for about 2 months in the fridge.

I did not have chocolate syrup on hand, so I used 1 tsp of cocoa powder instead. This made my version slightly less sweet but did not change the flavour otherwise. Next time, I will add 1 tbsp of sugar as well.

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Pear Syrup & A Warm Fall Favourite

I love Bartlett pears. A lot. I am pretty convinced that all imitation pear flavouring emulates the flavour of Bartlett pears. I love them so much that I actually can’t understand why other varieties of pear exist; they all taste like wet cardboard to me.

There are many pear liqueurs out there but knowing that they were likely made with the inferior non-Bartlett pears and were on the pricier side, I chose to go the simple route and make simple syrup in a Bartlett pear flavour.
(NB: this recipe will work for any variety of pear, you just have to promise me that whichever pears you choose, that you absolutely adore them. Don’t just grab any pears off the shelf!)

I sauntered down to the grocery store nearest my place and I bought 3 Bartlett pears. I left them out on top of the kitchen table to ripen. Just like using over-ripe bananas to make banana bread, I let these pears ripen far past their “yummy-to-eat” date, until their bottoms looked a little brown and soft. There were also an alarming amount of fruit flies trying to stake claim on my precious pears!

Once the pears were over-ripe, I rinsed them and chopped them in half and scooped out the soft brown bits. I did not peel the pears as I knew the skins would just get filtered out later anyway. While I chopped them up into little cubes, I prepared a water-sugar mixture on the stove. Here’s the exact recipe I used:

3 Bartlett pears (over-ripe)
1/2 cup of water (125 mL)
3/4 cup of white sugar (~180 mL)

Put the pear and the water and the sugar all into a small pot and put it on the stove on low-medium heat. meshstrainerStir it frequently for 15 minutes, being careful not to let it boil. Then, turn up the heat a little higher to about medium heat until the mixture bubbles ever so slightly for 3 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and filter the mixture through a mesh sieve and push all the pear goo with a spoon in the sieve to make sure all the syrup comes out. I did this over top a mason jar.
NB: my finished product did have some tiny little fibrous pear bits in it that did pass through the sieve, so I would recommend doing another filtration through some doubled-over cheesecloth.

Put the finished product in the fridge to cool before using. It should keep in the fridge for about a month. The final yield for this recipe was a little over a cup of syrup.

leftoverpeargoo I also kept my leftover pear goo in the fridge. Could be used for many things, such as filling tart shells or put it in an omelette with brie and blue cheese!

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, what kind of a drink uses pear syrup?

Since the weather is getting colder, the season of warm drinks is upon us and I decided to do a variation of the classic Hot Toddy. It’s a lovely cocktail that tastes more like tea than alcohol and feels oh-so-soothing when you have a cold! Neo Citran, eat (drink!) your heart out with this one:

Pear Hot Toddy

2 oz bourbon (or Tennessee whiskey or a blended Scotch of your choice)
2 oz pear syrup
Fill up with boiling water
Add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
(Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired)

The bourbon/Tennessee whiskey/blended Scotch choice is up to personal taste. I recommend bourbon/Tennessee whiskey over a blended Scotch simply because I find they are thicker and more syrupy than a blended Scotch. You could opt to use a peaty Single Malt Scotch however, I think that’s a waste of an expensive Scotch that is best served alone. The sugar in the syrup is going to change the flavour of the Scotch too, so best to use something that is not too expensive and complements the sweetness of the pear and spices nicely.

If you happen to have pure maple syrup on hand, I also recommend using 1.5 oz pear syrup and 0.5 oz of maple syrup instead. That’s just my Canadian showing. ;)