What's The Flavor Of Classic Irish Cream?

Irish cream liqueur is extremely popular worldwide, with almost 10 million cases sold in 2021. It can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed into tasty hot and cold cocktails.

Although we all know that Irish cream is a silky-smooth liqueur, what is the actual flavor of it? As it happens, Irish cream's flavor isn't so straightforward. This classic drink is sweet and tastes sort of like an alcoholic milkshake. It simultaneously tastes like chocolate and vanilla, with a strong bite of whiskey as an aftertaste.

Irish cream has this unique flavor because of its ingredients; classic Irish cream is made using cocoa powder and vanilla extract to achieve its flavor notes, while heavy whipping cream and Irish whiskey give it the cream liqueur flavor. Either sugar or condensed milk is used to help sweeten the drink and soften the overall alcohol taste.

Of course, today, Irish cream comes in various flavors, such as almond, white chocolate, espresso, salted caramel, and more. All these flavors are added to the classic Irish cream, adding an extra layer of flavor to your already silky-smooth drink.

Who came up with Irish cream, anyway?

Although Bailey's is the most commonly known brand of Irish cream, this drink goes back to long before the Bailey's company was established. Irish cream is thought to have been invented around the 14th century.

As the story goes, Irish monks used to distill whiskey and blend it with various herbs and spices. These were then sold as remedies for common ailments such as skin inflammation or memory loss. At one point or another, these monks decided to try mixing dairy cream with their whiskey. The result was the first version of Irish cream liqueur, although it probably wasn't called that at the time.

Fast forward to 1974, Bailey's Irish cream was created. Though it's named after Ireland, Bailey's Irish cream came about in neighboring England thanks to a company called Gilbey's. Gilbey's wanted to make a whiskey cream liqueur, and since Irish whiskey and dairy products were considered excellent quality at the time, it blended these two ingredients. Since the ingredients were Irish in origin, Gilbey's named the new concoction Irish cream, and it quickly became a smash hit.  

Creative cocktails you can make with Irish cream

While Irish cream can be enjoyed straight, you can create tasty cocktails using this simple liqueur. One popular cocktail is a twist on a classic Irish Coffee recipe. You'll need 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 cup of hot black coffee, whipped cream, and 1 ounce of Irish cream. Add the ingredients and top the drink with whipped cream.

Another great cocktail you can make using Irish cream is a White Russian. To make this beverage, you'll need 2 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce each of Irish cream and coffee liqueur. Add the coffee liqueur and vodka to a glass and stir together. Then, pour the Irish cream on top. Add ice to fill the glass and stir.

Finally, you can make a simple espresso martini using Irish cream. To create this cocktail, you'll need to pull 1 shot of espresso and add it to a shaker along with 2 ounces of Irish cream and 1 ounce of vodka. Shake the ingredients for about 20 seconds and then strain them into a martini glass.