Irish Cream is a liqueur made with Irish whiskey, cream and flavorings like vanilla, coffee and chocolate. It’s creamy, slightly sweet and low in alcohol, which means that it is a popular choice for making dessert cocktails. It also has a very unique flavor, which means that it can be great for baking because it can make a recipe really stand out from a plain vanilla alternative. There is usually a big upswing in the number of recipes that use Irish cream around St. Patrick’s Day, as people get into the spirit of the holiday, but Irish cream itself is popular all year round.
This is my recipe for Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur. Irish cream is the kind of thing that I would rather make than buy because I don’t usually need a huge bottle of it sitting around, and making it myself lets me play around with the flavors a bit. The dominant flavors in Irish cream are cream and whiskey (Irish whiskey, of course), but it also has notes of vanilla, coffee and even a hint of chocolate. A lot of recipes use chocolate syrup in their mix, but I find the chocolate flavor to be so subtle that chocolate syrup was just too much. Instead, I prefer to use a little bit of chocolate extract, that really does add just the essence of chocolate. Mine also has vanilla and instant coffee, and these are two ingredients that you can easily increase or decrease to suit your own personal flavor preferences. The sweetness in the liqueur comes from sweetened condensed milk, which also gives the finished product a nice consistency.
This recipe makes a fairly small batch of liqueur and you can drink it right away after mixing it up. It needs to be stored in the refrigerator and, though it will keep for weeks when stored in an airtight container, I don’t like to give up that much refrigerator space for that period of time. I’d rather make a small batch and use it all up than have leftovers get thrown out for sitting too long. That being said, this recipe can easily be doubled if you’re going to do a lot of baking with your Irish cream or if you want to make up cocktails to serve to a whole group of friends.
Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur
1 cup Irish whiskey, such as Jameson
1 cup heavy cream
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp chocolate extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee
1 1/2 tsp hot water
In a large bowl, whisk together whiskey, cream, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate extract and vanilla extract carefully until ingredients are well combined.
In a very small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Add to cream mixture and whisk to combine.
Transfer mixture into an airtight container and chill until very cold. Serve over ice, use in cocktails or measure out and use for baking.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.