A Little Ramble Before We BeginI have found that writing a blog often puts one in the situation of asking why. For example, why did I decide to bake a cake at 10 pm when I am supposed to be on a diet, or why am I making twice as much work for myself by having to constantly wash my hands so that I can take pictures? The answer to these types of questions is generally something along the lines of because I love to do domestic things and I love to write, and to do the latter I must do the former and to do the former I must force myself to find the time.
Then however, there are these other types of questions. For example, why did I decide to pull out the crystal champagne coupes for this picture, why did I decide to take it on a bookshelf and best of all why did I wait until 9:00 am as I was getting ready for work to do my taste test of the different creamed whiskey's I'd made? Well, I don't really have a good answer to any other those, especially the last one, but I can assure you that somehow it all works out and I'm most appreciative that you all seem to just go along with it. Especially my husband who caught me in the kitchen this morning drinking booze. Thanks for understanding.
And Now, The Whiskey
Note: You don't need a great whiskey for this. Put the cork back in the 12 year McCallan and pull out the Bushmills.
Last year I made the mistake of not trying out any of my St. Patricks' Day stuff ahead of time. Not that this was a problem for the party, but it did result in my posting about all the wonderful Irish goodness after the event was no longer relevant. So this year I decided to start trying out a few things ahead of time to share with all of you. The first thing I have decided to try is to make my own creamed whiskey (think Baileys).
A simple internet search can pull up many recipes for homemade versions of Baileys, but most of them are pretty similar. The biggest difference seems to be whether people added eggs or not. I decided to not bother with the recipes that had eggs in them because it would drastically shorten the shelf life of my beverage, and despite what you might have been told, I can't drink a whole jug of Baileys in a week. I did decide to try two different batches, one sweetened with honey and one with condensed milk, to see if one yielded noticeably better results. I got the idea after reading that Carolans (my personal favorite) uses honey in the production of their creamed whiskey. I thought that a rich dark honey could add an earthy flavor to the mix.
I also changed my recipe from the norm by omitting or substituting a couple ingredients in both batches. First, most recipes call for instant coffee powder to be added. This kind of grossed me out. I said thanks but no thanks. While I don't doubt the addition of coffee flavoring would be good, I just have a mental block against using instant coffee. If you have an espresso machine though, a shot added to the batch could be quite good. Second, all the recipes call for chocolate syrup. I don't own any chocolate syrup, so I melted the equivalent amount of bar chocolate and added that. It mixes in just fine and doesn't separate back out once the mixture is chilled. Third, while both batches I made have almond extract in them, I would leave it out next time, or just add the tiniest splash. It has an overwhelming scent and the taste leaves the kind of burn in the mouth feel that bad whiskey does. Now granted, I was also using bad whiskey, but when I sampled the batch before adding the almond extract, the taste was far less pronounced.
Alright, now that I have taken you on the journey of exploration that is creamed whiskey making, here's the recipe I worked out.
1 cup of heavy cream
1 14 oz. can condensed milk
1 3/4 Cups Irish Whiskey
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. melted chocolate/chocolate syrup
1 shot of espresso
1/2 Tsp. almond extract
Mix all ingredients in a blender for 30-60 seconds until well combined. Pour into a tight sealing, preferably cute, jar and place in the fridge to chill.
Now you may remember I said I tried two batches but only gave one recipe. What's up with that?! Well, I found the honey version to not be noticeably different taste wise. If you wish to make that version, substitute the condensed milk for 2/3 cup of honey. This will however, be more expensive than using the condensed milk. I wouldn't have tried it if I didn't have an over abundance of honey at the moment. In addition to not changing the flavor, I found the honey version to be a little less pleasing in terms of mouth feel. The version with condensed milk feels creamier and fuller, while the honey version feels a little weak and thin. Finally, the honey version also separates out and doesn't look as nice as the condensed milk version in the fridge. Of course a good shake can take care of that. So experiment, it's up to you!