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How To Elevate Simple Cocktails With Bailey’s Irish Cream

Simple Cocktails

When people think of their favourite liqueurs, there are a few names that spring to mind, and at the top of that list, Bailey’s Irish Cream always finds a space. Bailey's offers a unique experience in the world of liqueurs. Each sip combines the richness of cream with the kick of alcohol, creating a sensory delight for your drinking experience. 

This liqueur is a favourite from bartenders and home drinkers alike for its unique flavour and texture that offers a creamy, dessert-like experience which is rare in the world of alcohol. This lends itself well to sweeter, after-dinner drinks and can be used to create a host of innovative cocktails with flavours that would otherwise be hard to replicate.

What Is A Liqueur?

The first step towards understanding how to use Bailey’s Irish Cream is to understand the nature of liqueurs themselves. Liqueurs, a category within distilled spirits, possess a distinctive trait that distinguishes them from regular liquors: sweetness. Liqueurs are characterised by their sweet taste, enriched with various flavours and oils. 

Historically, liqueurs trace their origins back to herbal remedies crafted by Italian monks in the 13th century. Today, they are a globally recognised term, enjoyed in various forms such as with coffee, over ice, in cocktails, and even utilised in culinary creations. When comparing the alcohol content of liquor and liqueur, the general guideline is that any beverage with an alcohol by volume (ABV) exceeding 35% is categorised as liquor, while those with less than 35% ABV fall into the liqueur category.

The History Of Bailey’s Irish Cream

In Ireland, whisky was often mixed with cream as a soothing drink for upset stomachs, but turning that into a long-term shelf-stable product proved to be a whole other challenge. Its journey began in Dublin in 1974 when David Dand, known as the pioneer of Baileys, envisioned something exceptional. He embarked on a quest to find the perfect recipe for blending alcohol and cream.

With the help of a team of experts, including David Gluckman, Tom Jago, Steve Wilson, and MacMcPherson, Dand worked tirelessly for three years to achieve this goal. Their initial attempts, using a kitchen mixer, resulted in separation despite being pleasing to the taste. Then, on November 26th, 1974, a fortunate accident occurred, leading to the birth of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur. A stroke of brilliance involving a touch of chocolate, vanilla, and burnt sugar enabled Dand and his team to successfully combine these two unlikely components.

Fun fact, the creation of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur involves using top-quality dairy cream from specially bred Irish cows, triple-distilled whiskey, and select spirits. Approximately 220 million litres of fresh cream from 38,000 carefully bred Irish dairy cows, affectionately known as "Baileys Ladies," are used annually.

At 17% ABV, Bailey's boasts a slightly higher alcohol content than your typical wine. While it may be a bit too robust to accompany a meal (though you can if you’re feeling brave), it serves as a better option to conclude an evening. When savouring Bailey's by itself, it's best enjoyed chilled or poured over ice. Its creamy texture also makes it an ideal complement for transforming your regular coffee into an alcoholic delight, simply by replacing your standard milk or creamer with it.

3 Ways To Enjoy Bailey’s Irish Cream

Bailey's Martini:

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 30 ml vodka
  • 15 ml coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa)
  • Ice cubes

Instructions:

  • Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  • Add the Bailey's Irish Cream, vodka, and coffee liqueur to the shaker.
  • Shake vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a martini glass.
  • Enjoy this creamy and slightly sweet martini.

Baileys Iced Coffee:

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 180 ml brewed coffee, cooled
  • 30 ml milk or cream
  • Ice cubes

Instructions:

  • Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour Bailey's Irish Cream and cooled brewed coffee over the ice.
  • Stir in the milk or cream.
  • Give it a gentle stir and sip on this refreshing coffee-infused cocktail.

Bailey's Chocolate Milkshake:

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 30 ml chocolate liqueur
  • 30 ml vanilla vodka
  • Chocolate syrup (for garnish)

Instructions:

  • Chill a martini glass and drizzle chocolate syrup around the inside.
  • In a shaker filled with ice, combine Bailey's Irish Cream, chocolate liqueur, and vanilla vodka.
  • Shake well until thoroughly mixed.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared martini glass.