Country Living Series

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making Irish Cream

Who likes Bailey's Irish Cream but can't afford the price tag? If this describes you, read on.

A few years ago, when I couldn't justify the price of Bailey's, I decided to make a batch of homemade Irish cream and see how it worked. I found a recipe for "Irish Cream Liqueur" in a book called "Cheaper and Better."



I use dark-brown bottles scrounged from friends, as well as some bottles with built-in caps I purchased awhile ago at a beverage supply store.



There are only six ingredients: eggs, sweetened condensed milk, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vodka, and cream (in that order). I quadruple the recipe in order to have enough on hand for gifts.


Beat the eggs until thick and lemon-colored. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, beating after each one. Here I'm adding sweetened condensed milk.



I've added the instant coffee and now the chocolate syrup:


Mixing.


Adding the vodka, glug glug glug. I'm the type of person who never drinks anything stronger than a glass of wine, so I feel vaguely guilty when I go into the liquor store once a year and buy a gallon of vodka. I also feel weird when I recycle my empties, as if I should be apologizing and explaining why I used this much booze.


It was about this point that I realized the bowl I was using wasn't even remotely large enough to hold the quadruple batch, so I switched to a three-gallon pot before adding the cream. Normally I'd use our own cream, but our Jersey cow Matilda is dry and won't give birth until February.


Filling the bottles. I recommend a towel to catch the dribbles.



Finished product. Now this is IMPORTANT: it must age for a week in a dark spot. Don't try to drink it fresh! The alcohol denatures the egg proteins during that week, so if you drink it fresh you'll be drinking raw eggs.


Here's the recipe:

2 eggs
2 cups sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 cups vodka
2 cups heavy cream

1. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Pour mixture into sterilized dark glass bottles [dark plastic bottles work well too] and let it rest for one week before drinking. Mixture will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge or 1 month on the pantry shelf.

As I said, I usually quadruple the batch for Christmas presents.

I remember the first time we tried our homemade Bailey's. Don and I had gotten home from the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church, tucked our weary children into bed, and decided to break open a bottle of homemade and toast in Christmas. We paused, glasses full, and wondered if we were about to poison ourselves. Then we took a sip. Absolutely delicious.

Honestly, this is better than Bailey's for a fraction of the cost. Try it! It's easy and cheap, and it makes wonderful Christmas presents.

A word of warning: this is VERY strong. As in, don't-you-dare-think-you-can-drive type of strong. One glass of this and my cheeks are flushed. But man oh man, is it good. You'll never go back to the store-bought stuff after tasting this.

Happy tippling! (hic)

19 comments:

  1. Patrice, I didn't read how many servings (bottles) are in the standard recipe. Also, how many servings (bottles) will quadrupling the recipe make? And I assume you mean 12 oz. bottles(?)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The standard recipe yields 46 oz., so a quadruple recipe is 184 oz, or 11 1/2 pints. Bottles vary in volume, of course, depending on what you use. I think my bottles hold 1 1/2 pints or something like that.

    - Patrice

    ReplyDelete
  3. I recently made Baileys based off this recipe, as we PCVs in the Republic of Georgia have terribly missed anything alcoholic other than homemade nail-polish-remover wine and rocket-fuel vodka. It turned out fabulous! Thank you for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad the recipe worked for you. Enjoy!

    - Patrice

    ReplyDelete
  5. This looks amazing. Question about the bottles: Do they have to be dark? Could you use, say, regular quart jars???

    ReplyDelete
  6. Every bottle of Irish cream I've ever seen (commercial stuff, that is) is dark, so I'm assuming the dark glass or plastic bottle plays an important role in how easily the Irish cream breaks down. Possibly you could get away with clear glass bottles as long as you age and subsequently store the Irish cream in a dark place, but that's just a guess and I can't guarantee it.

    - Patrice

    ReplyDelete
  7. Do you remember the name of the beverage supply company you purchased the dark brown capped bottles from? I really want to make the Irish cream for Christmas gifts this year, but I can't find bottles anywhere. Please help! Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. We bought the bottles from a wine-making supply source in Spokane. Since it was a local (as in, not a national) store, I doubt you'll find it in whatever region you're in. But if you look through the yellow pages of your local phone book under "wine and beer making supplies," I'm sure you'll find a similar business. Ask if they carry dark brown bottles with reusable caps.

    - Patrice

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was trying to find a recipe and see if I could can Irish Cream. I think I've learned what I needed to from reading this, except once I get the bottles, do I need to make sure this is refrigerated immediately?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dark bottles are most likely used to prevent light from breaking down the mixture. At least that is why beer uses brown bottles over green and clear. As to the what happens to the chemicals if their is direct sunlight exposure, you'll have to ask a chemist that question.

    -Kevin

    ReplyDelete
  11. OK...how about dark BLUE bottles? My local beer supply place is out of brown...but have lots of blue.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Irish cream is made with irish whisky

    ReplyDelete
  13. Our friends love this recipe more than Bailey's! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ok, dumb question time... I have quit drinking alcohol, but when I used to, I loved Bailey's. I am wondering if there's a way to make it without the vodka?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can Irish whiskey be used instead of vodka?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure. I use vodka because it's cheap, but whiskey should work just fine.

      - Patrice

      Delete
  16. Thanks for the recipe! I modified it a little by infusing the vodka with a bunch of Celestial Seasonings chai tea bags for a month beforehand and not using coffee. It was excellent!

    ReplyDelete
  17. How is it stored? Do you can it or does the alcohol prevent spoilage? And how long can it be stored?
    Rich

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It stores at room temperature for about a month, and in the fridge for three months, though I've stretched it a couple weeks beyond its supposed expiration date without a problem.

      - Patrice

      Delete