Irish Cream is a recent addition to the pantheon of „traditional Irish drinks“. In fact it was only invented in 1974. With Baileys Irish Cream being the original.
Irish Cream - What's in a Name
The name says it all – it is an Irish drink based on cream. Sweetish and classified as a liqueur, which makes it firmly a „ladies‘ drink“.
Irish Cream - A Short History
In 1974 a consortium hit the ground running by unleashing Baileys Irish Cream unto an unsuspecting market. Mixing cream and whiskey they aimed for the slightly elderly female drinker with some sophistication. And a world market. The name „Baileys“ was apparently chosen because it sounded Irish enough without giving anybody outside Ireland headaches in trying to pronounce it.
Irish Cream - Variations on a Theme
Irish cream was an immediate success and soon conquered the world, quickly breaking out of the intended niche market. Today it is enjoyed traditionally lukewarm by the spinster on a night out, by young women partying hard (commercials have become increasingly sexy) and even (gasp!) by men, on the rocks. Sensing that Baileys was onto a winner, each and every competitor seems to have jumped onto the bandwagon. 35 years after „Irish Cream“ was first sold, around 160 varieties are known. Bottled with ever more „traditional“ labels extolling an Ireland when Irish cream was nothing more than an undiluted dairy product.
Irish Cream - The Potential Pitfalls
Taste – the legions of imitators did not always get it right. It can be so sweet as to be cloying. Or having an overpowering whiskey taste. Both are not the bee‘s knees. The second big pitfall is sugar content. Not only will Irish cream make you fat, you‘ll also be likely to suffer splitting headaches after overindulging. But at least while doing so you will be grinning like the proverbial cat that got the cream.
What Makes Irish Cream Unique?
The whiskey in it – without it there would be no Irish connection in most cases.
Irish Cream - What are the Alternatives?
Too many – there are literally thousands of liqueurs available and even manufacturers of Irish cream have introduced varieties with chocolate, almond or nut taste, just to mention a few varieties.
Irish Cream as a Souvenir?
Well, there are nice gift packs with matching glasses.