Friday, March 13, 2015

Home Made Irish Cream Liqueur

I've seen a ton of recipes online for home made Irish Cream Liqueur (like Baileys) and they all have similar ingredients. Most of them include heavy cream. Which is rich and tasty, but ... do you really have a use for the rest of that container of heavy cream? If you do, that's fine.

If not, this recipe is for you. It uses evaporated milk rather than cream. Not only is this better for your wallet, but it should also be lower in calories. And it's more convenient, since you can store cans of evaporated milk on a shelf and have it waiting for you whenever you feel like making this.

In case you're not familiar with evaporated milk it's just what it sounds like - regular dairy milk with some of the water removed to make it slightly thicker. Sweetened condensed milk is milk that's halfway to becoming dulce de leche. It's got sugar and it's cooked until it's thick and syrupy.

Don't mistake the two when you go shopping! Well, in this recipe, you need one can of each, but if you have a recipe that requires one or the other, make sure you get the right one - they're not interchangeable at all. In the brands that I buy, the sweetened condensed is a shorter can, and evaporated milk is a taller can. If it seems odd that the sweetened condensed can is smaller but it's 14 ounces, that's simple to explain. The sweetened condensed gives the weight of the product, while the evaporated gives the volume. Why that's the case, I have no idea.

If you don't have evaporated milk on hand, feel free to use cream, half-and-half, or even milk. It won't be exactly the same, but it should still be good. And of course, taste and adjust so it's to your liking.

I don't suggest adding more almond extract, because it shouldn't taste like almond, but a small amount adds a lovely background flavor.

Home Made Irish Cream Liqueur

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup Irish whiskey (or 1 1/2 cups for a stronger drink)
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons cold-brew coffee concentrate*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients. Stir to make sure the condensed milk, which is thick, is blended into the rest of the ingredients, and that the pinch of salt is dissolved. Taste and adjust - you might want more chocolate or coffee.

Transfer to bottles or jars, or whatever you'll keep it in. Refrigerate.

This makes just a little over a quart of liqueur.

*I have this cold-brewer, which I love. (I reviewed it here.) You could also use strong-brewed coffee or even instant, but I can't give you an exact substitution. I'd suggest starting with a small amount and adding it to taste. Irish cream liqueur doesn't have a strong coffee flavor, so don't get carried away.