Homemade Irish cream might not be the fanciest of things. Frankly, the whiskey liqueur has a bit of an old-school vibe to it. But it's sweet, it's tasty, and it's a real crowd-pleaser. -And there's no shame in having a soft spot for the classics.
The best thing about this Irish cream recipe is that you can use your favorite whiskey. You can try getting it as close to being a Baileys copycat as possible or give it a personal twist.
Quick Facts Homemade Irish Cream
- Method: stirred
- Flavor profile: sweet, creamy
- How to serve it: over ice or in mixed drinks
- Alcohol content: ~ 15.5% ABV, 5.5 grams of alcohol per serving
By the way, if your homemade Irish cream it's intended to be a gift, and you know the favorite whiskey brand of the recipient, that makes it even better.
- 5.5 oz single cream
- 10 oz Irish Whiskey
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 oz sweetened condensed milk
- First, mix a tablespoon of the cream with coffee, and cocoa powder5.5 oz single cream, 1 tsp instant coffee, 1 tsp cocoa powder
- Then slowly stir in the remaining cream - I don't use a blender because I like a smooth but still liquid consistency. I don't want the cream to become thick and stiff.5.5 oz single cream
- Now, add the Whiskey, vanilla extract, and condensed milk.10 oz Irish Whiskey, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 10 oz sweetened condensed milk
- Fill in an airtight sealable bottle and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
- Shake the bottle before drinking.
For the best version of a homemade Irish cream, you should invest in quality ingredients. Our shopping list won't break the bank, though, because you also don't want to waste top-shelf whiskey by mixing it with cream:
- Whiskey: The first Irish cream ever was made with Jameson Whiskey. So if you want to go with the product that kicked off the whole thing, Jameson Irish Whiskey it is. Otherwise, go with something you like.
- Cream: I like to go with a cream containing around 20% fat. The overall fat content of Baileys is over 15%. It's safe to say half and half won't achieve that. Even cream with 20% fat would not be enough to reach the 15% overall, but another component will help in this department.
- Sweetened condensed milk: brings in the missing fat and the necessary sweetness characteristic of our favorite whiskey cream liqueur.
- Flavorings for your homemade Irish cream: You need vanilla, cocoa powder, and a bit of instant coffee.
Tips & Best Practices for Your Homemade Irish Cream
Here we put some recommendations and tips together that will get you the best possible results.
When you pick your whiskey and don't want to use Jameson, remember you need the alcoholic bite that can cut through the sweet, rich dairy components. Thus, your whiskey of choice should not be too smooth.
The guys who dreamed up Baileys went with single cream for their first shot. Single cream has a fat content of about 18%. So, we advise against using half and half, which contains only a little over 10% fat. That's not enough to achieve the desired rich flavor and creamy texture. On the other hand, you don't want your liqueur to turn to puree in the fridge, so it shouldn't be too thick either.
Variations of our Recipe
This recipe gives you the freedom to tweak it to your liking. Change ratios or add flavorings to your liking. You can also try making a vegan version with almond milk instead of dairy.
If you want your homemade Baileys to be more chocolatey, you can increase the amount of cocoa powder. If you like toffee, consider adding a dash of caramel syrup.
For a stronger, more alcoholic variation, you can increase the amount of whiskey that goes in. -In our recipe, adding 1 oz of whiskey will roughly increase the overall ABV by 1%.
How to Store Your Irish Cream
You should keep your homemade Irish cream in an airtight bottle in the fridge. There, it remains good for about eight weeks.
Storebought versions like Baileys don't need to go into the fridge, not even when opened. But our homemade version doesn't add preserving agents, thus, it won't last as long and needs to be stored in a cold place.
Ways to Enjoy Homemade Irish Cream
You can enjoy your homemade Baileys neat, straight, or on the rocks. It's as delightful ice cold on a hot day as at room temperature on a cold winter day.
It works a treat in a coffee - for instance, you can turn regular Irish Coffee into Baileys Irish Coffee. Or you can use it to spike a hot chocolate.
And then, of course, you can create sweet and rich dessert cocktails with your homemade Irish cream, for instance:
- The Chocolate Martini
- The Screaming Orgasm - sounds more bizarre than it is.
- Or in some evergreen shots like the B-52 or the Baby Guinness. Both are especially popular options for St. Patrick's Day.
Origin of Irish Cream
Some think Irish cream has a long tradition in Ireland. But in fact, it sprung from the mind of three British guys in the 1970s and was given the name Baileys.
Like our version, the original is made mainly from whiskey and dairy. These components get refined with spiced cocoa and vanilla, added sugar, and other flavorings.