There’s nothing traditionally Irish about Irish cream liqueur (having been invented in 1973 as a marketing push in what became Baileys), but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. Fortunately, the formula of whiskey, cream, and sugar translates well, and many craft distillers have joined the lineup with their own interpretations. What better time to indulge in the “sweet and boozy” category than the holidays? Whether spiking coffee, mixing into a cocktail, or even sipping solo, here are six delightfully decadent options.
It was only a matter of time before oat milk made its way into this dairy-dominated frontier, and the flavor and texture are a natural match. Chicago-born Dottie May’s blends an oat milk base with American whiskey, creating a surprisingly luscious consistency. Sweet flavors of butterscotch complement the whiskey without being cloying. $28.99, drinkdotties.com
Rochester’s Black Button Distilling keeps things local, crafting their whiskey with grains grown within 50 miles of the farm distillery. The same goes for the cream, which is sourced from New York dairies to blend with their small batch bourbon. The liqueur’s rich and sweet to be sure, but the Bespoke’s quality spirit shines through, and the liqueur drinks more like a freshly mixed dessert cocktail. $32.99, totalwine.com
Certainly the most charming in its swing-top milk bottle, Five Farms Irish cream also lives up to its name, sourcing single-batch cream from five family farms in County Cork, Ireland, before blending with triple-distilled Irish whiskey. The resulting liqueur is richly indulgent yet still fresh-tasting,with a firm whiskey backbone and a hint of spice $34.99, fivefarmsirishcream.com
Columbus, Ohio, distillery Middle West aims to highlight the flavors of the Ohio River Valley with their creative range of spirits, and their Bourbon Cream is no exception. Made with their Michelone Reserve bourbon, the liqueur is whiskey-forward with flavors of vanilla, amaretto, and spice carried on a velvety body of rich cream. $24.99, middlewestspirits.com
Finding a truly winning combination, Nashville, Indiana’s Hard Truth Distilling combines straight bourbon whiskey with real maple syrup in their Maple Bourbon Cream. Flavors of toasty oak and spice marry perfectly with the sweet earthiness of the maple syrup in a cream base that’s on the slightly lighter, more delicate side. $31.49, totalwine.com
Utilizing their Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Boann Distillery in Drogheda, Ireland, aims traditional for an Irish cream that keeps the bright flavor of the whiskey front and center. (It’s also the booziest of the bunch, at about 19 percent ABV.) Using cream from local, grass-fed dairy cows, the resulting liqueur is rich with flavors of vanilla and toffee. $28.49, totalwine.com