Since an unfortunate overindulgence incident in my early 20s, Bailey's Irish Cream is a once-a-year treat. Today, St. Patrick's Day, is the one day every year that wander over to the sweet delights of Bailey's, usually in coffee but sometimes just with ice. It's delicious! It's slightly milky! But if I ever buy a bottle, like Kahlua, it goes unused for the other 51 weeks of the year. Also, I am lazy, and I don't want to schlep to the liquor store in the I-guess-seasonable-but-still-enough-already late winter tundra that's been happening in the Northeast. But as with Kahlua, it turns out that Bailey's Irish Cream does not spring from an Irish cream font somewhere near Galway. It's just a liqueur that you can make a reasonably good facsimile of at home, for cheap, using hot cocoa powder and non-dairy creamer. Seriously.
If you happen to have actual cream at your home then congratulations, your dairy game is stronger than mine. Since we were in fact making Irish Cream not even at home but in our office, I had, at my disposal, one of those pitchers of Nescafe creamer (non-fat, Vanilla, if you're keeping track) but it is my sincere belief that if you had to, you could cobble together an Irish Cream using those tiny creamer cups from a diner. The two big things that you need are a blender and some Irish Whiskey, the cheaper the better. You could use chocolate syrup instead of hot cocoa mix, or actual cocoa, I guess, if you're fancy like that. Either way, you should make Bailey's because it pays tribute to the irrepressible inventiveness of the Irish people, is mad cheap, and also counts as a pretty impressive party trick. Erin Go Bragh, cream-wise.
Photo by Alex Tepper
1 can condensed, sweetened milk
1 cup cream, non-dairy creamer, or half-n-half
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 packets hot cocoa mix
1 cup Irish whiskey
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
How to Make It
Put everything in a blender and blend for 30 seconds to one minute, until well combined. That's it. You made Irish Cream.