Despite high-budget advertising implying the contrary, Irish cream liqueur is not a centuries old tipple of the druids, but first staggered to its feet in the early 1970s resplendent with dubious sounding Irish names.
The novelty drink was purportedly dreamt up in an upstairs office following a Christmas party. Several hung-over product developers who had been tasked to come up with a new product for Gilbey’s (of Gilbey’s Gin fame), took drinking chocolate and cream from the kitchen and blended it with whisky left over from the party; and thus the genre was born.
Several other companies jumped on the bandwagon with their “Ah diddley dee potatoes” monikered anodyne versions of cream liqueurs and outrageous claims of originality. Ingredients vary from whiskey (and whisky) to brandy to wine; chocolate to coffee; and all manner of other flavourings.
Most deem cream liqueurs a fine roborant while some strangely abhor it and others even consider it a crime against the distillers’ art. I had already been experimenting with a number of infused and modified spirits before Baileys Irish Cream came on the market in the early 1970s and during one rare afflatus I concocted a similar liqueur which has since met with broad approval whenever a bottle has been produced.
If you like cream liqueurs, then you might like to try my own much celebrated Irish cream recipe which, in the spirit of the season, I will disbosom to the wider populous for the very first time.
The recipe calls for Irish whiskey, though obviously brandy or, at a pinch, even Scotch whisky could be substituted. I will say this though, don’t be fooled into thinking any old spirit will suffice; au contraire, the better the whiskey, the better the cream liqueur. The same goes for the coffee.
355ml (12 oz) of Irish whiskey (preferably Bushmills).
570ml (20 oz) of milk.
One 375ml (13 oz) tin of evaporated milk.
One 395g (14 oz) tin of condensed milk.
Two teaspoonfuls of instant coffee, dissolved in the smallest quantity of hot water.
Preparing the liqueur
Pour the milk into a large jug and then slowly add the condensed and evaporated milk, stirring all the while with a whisk. Take a good snifter of the whiskey (to ascertain it hasn’t been adulterated) and then add the specified amount to the milk.
Stoke the fire and bring the kettle to the boil. Put two spoonfuls of good quality instant coffee (hazelnut flavoured coffee makes a very pleasant variation) into a cup and add just sufficient hot water to dissolve the coffee into a pourable consistency.
While gently stirring the whiskey and milk, begin drizzling in the liquefied coffee until perfection is achieved (this may necessitate sampling a glass or two).
Plane’s Ulster Milk of Amnesia will keep for several weeks if well chilled, however, once tasted, it seldom finds its way back to the fridge.
Plane’s Ulster Milk of Amnesia goes splendidly with homemade mince pies (as it does poured over a bowl of cornflakes). I can also highly recommend keeping a glassful by the bed in the event one awakes during the night.