Luck of the Irish
Irish Cream is, as the name suggests, always made with Irish whiskey as it is lighter and smoother than Scotch or other whiskies. It also contains cream, sugar and an emulsifier (often egg or vegetable oil) which is used to create an emulsion and prevent the separation of the alcohol and cream during storage. Many different types of additional flavourings are added, from vanilla and chocolate to orange and coffee.
King of (Irish) Cream
Baileys is the most popular brand of Irish Cream on the market; often people use this brand name instead of the generic when referring to the liqueur. It is manufactured by Gilbeys of Ireland and was first introduced in 1974.
Because Irish Cream contains dairy, it curdles and coagulates when it is mixed with an acidic substance: this gave rise to an urban legend that drinking Irish Cream with tonic water will kill you. While that’s completely false, Irish Cream is used in a prank drink called a Cement Mixer, in which a person holds a shot of lime or lemon juice in their mouth, followed by a shot of Irish Cream; the person then shakes their head to mix them together, which causes curdling and makes the substance very sticky and difficult to swallow.
Unlike most spirits and liqueurs, an opened bottle of Irish Cream should always be stored in the refrigerator because it contains milk ingredients. Most bottles now have a best before date; once opened, Irish Cream will generally last for about six months. Baileys guarantees its particular product for up to two years (even without refrigeration). If it’s lumpy, curdled or smells off, dump it.
The dude abides
Irish Cream can be used to make many different cocktails, with the simplest being adding a shot to a cup of coffee. It’s particularly good in a version of the White Russian: mix two ounces of Irish Cream with one ounce of vodka and half an ounce of Kahlua over ice in a highball glass, then top up with milk or cream.
Not just liqueur
The mass popularity of Irish Cream, especially Baileys, has prompted an expansion into other types of food and beverages. Irish Cream is now a common flavouring for non-alcoholic coffee creamers, specialty chocolates, candy and syrups.V