Cocktail Hour: Homemade Irish Cream ( and chocolate syrup!)

DSC_0057It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and while I suppose I could provide you with a recipe for colcannon, or a recommendation for an Irish pub, I think I’ll focus on what everyone else seems to be concerned with on St. Patrick’s Day: drinking.

Okay, not really the green beer, trip-over-a-shamrock kind of drinking, but some fun Irish stuff that you can do at home that I promise will be better than anything you get out on Saturday. In particular? Homemade Irish Cream.

Bailey’s, the brand of Irish Cream we all know and probably like is a pretty popular product, and is good on the rocks or in a B52 or even just in your coffee.  It’s got a bit of chocolate, a bit of coffee, and a nice whiskey kick.   You’ll notice, though, it doesn’t last indefinitely like many spirits: there is cream that will spoil fairly easy, particularly if you (like most people) leave the bottle at room temperature.  This version makes a small enough batch that you’ll probably use it up within the month (or find an excuse to) and doesn’t have any preservatives.  Be sure to mark a date on your bottle, as there’s nothing worse than curdled Irish cream in your B52.  This stuff is so good that you probably won’t run to the liquor store for Bailey’s ever again.

Speaking of never buying the store-bought version again, you have to try homemade chocolate syrup.  Deliriously easy, extra delicious, and definitely better for you than Hershey’s (which is chocolate flavor and not actually “chocolate”).  I won’t judge if you lick the spoon on this one.

Irish Cream

1 cup of heavy cream

4 eggs

1 14 oz can of sweetened, condensed milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (try homemade– recipe below)

1.5 teaspoons instant coffee powder

Half a 750 ml bottle of Irish whiskey (Jameson, Tullamore Dew, or your favorite Irish whiskey)

In a blender whose plastic bottom is not broken (learn from my mistakes, friends), pulse the cream, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, chocolate syrup and coffee powder together until well-combined.  Add in the Irish whiskey and blend until frothy.  Pour into a container of your choice (I use mason jars) and refrigerate.  This will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.

DSC_0059For the homemade chocolate syrup (you’ll never buy Hershey’s again, this is so good and easy to make!)

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk the first thee ingredients together over high heat until well combined.  Allow to simmer for about ten minutes, then pull off heat to cool.  Add vanilla and salt.  Use as you would store-bought chocolate syrup.  It’ll keep in the refrigerator for a pretty long time– some say indefinitely (we’ll see about that).