Irish Cream, The Luscious Liqueur

By Michael Sturlin

Perhaps it’s the quintessential drink of the holidays — a decadent splash of Irish Cream to coffee or hot chocolate elevates a simple, warm beverage to celebratory status.

It’s a fact — Irish Cream sales spike during the holiday season. But with the craft cocktail movement in full force, Irish Cream’s use is becoming much more diverse, showing up year-round in a variety of cocktails based on traditional recipes. Manufacturers are even trying to expand their current demographic of “modern women,” and are beginning to target a younger generation interested in creative mixology. (Source: Beverage Dynamics Magazine)

Commercial Irish Cream has only been around since the 1970s when individual distillers in Ireland perfected the process of emulsifying Irish whiskey and cream, and actually keeping it combined. Before that, it was a common household drink used to treat an upset stomach. Though not simultaneously — Bailey’s was the first — Irish whiskey distillers used local cream in their concoctions, choosing dairies that eventually became their signature source.

Most commercial bottles have a two-year shelf life, claiming the alcohol content preserves the cream. They also do not require refrigeration after opened. Instead of wondering how old your bottle of Irish Cream actually is, why not whip up a batch of your own?


Michael’s Homemade Irish Cream

Servings: Makes about 30 ounces

Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes


1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Irish Whisky (Jameson, 2 Gingers, Bushmills, Tullamore Dew) nothing really expensive is needed


In a pitcher, slowly whisk the cocoa powder and cream into a smooth paste. Once you have a smooth paste, whisk in the condensed milk, whiskey and vanilla.

Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks, possibly longer.

Serve over ice or splashed into your coffee.

Addition: Mix 1 teaspoon of instant coffee with the cocoa powder before whisking to add a faint coffee flavor.

Note: 1 750ml (25.4oz) bottle of Irish whiskey will make about 90 ounces of Irish Cream, so for gifts, fill small (8-12 ounce) Mason jars with your Irish Cream, label your creation and dress with a bow.

As this is a refrigerated item, it isn’t a good stocking stuffer but is a great hostess gift.

To use your fresh Irish Cream, The Club’s bartender, Crystal Stemple, created a spiked coffee, perfect for evenings in front of the fire.

Cordillera Irish Coffee


6 ounces piping hot black coffee
2 ounces Irish Cream
Whipped topping
¼ ounce Frangelico


In a bowl, combine the whipped topping and the Frangelico. Refrigerate while preparing your coffee.

In a large mug or Brandy snifter, pour 6 ounces of black coffee and mix in 2 ounces (or to taste) of Irish Cream. Top with the Frangelico-infused whipped topping. Enjoy!

Michael Sturlin is the Beverage Manager at The Clubs of  Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at 830.336.9000 or

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