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:
Adding the vodka, glug glug glug. I’m the type of person who neverdrinks 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 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)