Making Spirits Bright

Homemade Irish Cream Is an Excellent (and Easy) Holiday Gift

Make this, then bask in the knowledge that you're the best gift-giver of the year.

By Megan McDonald December 20, 2021

Use homemade Irish cream to spike your Christmas coffee.

Use homemade Irish cream to spike your Christmas coffee.

Irish cream is available all year long, but sipping it feels especially appropriate this time of year. Maybe it's because spiked hot chocolate feels cozy on a cool December evening, or because coffee with a hit of Irish cream makes getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning feel even more festive than normal.

You can buy Irish cream (Bailey's is the most popular brand) at any liquor store, but did you know you can also make it yourself? I didn't, but then, a few years ago, Deb Perlman of the popular food blog Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe rejoicing over how easy it was.

"Guess how long it took me to make this? Five minutes, and that includes measuring. Guess how soon it is ready to drink? Instantly. Guess how long it keeps? I have read both two weeks and two months, but I realize that we’re probably never going to find out the latter," she writes. "Guess who controls how sweet or creamy or boozy it is? You! Guess how close of a match it is to the bottled stuff? With my eyes closed, I’d unquestionably take a sip and say, 'Wow, Bailey’s is even better than I remember it. Why don’t I drink it more often anymore?'"

I was instantly convinced. I ordered a bunch of adorable glass juice jars and labels, picked up some Jameson at the liquor store and got to work. Turns out that homemade Irish cream is an excellent way to ingratiate yourself with your coworkers, your family, your neighbors, your friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, strangers... basically anyone. As far as gifting goes, this is a tried-and-true hit.

Here's your shopping list: unsweetened cocoa powder, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, Irish whiskey (like Jameson). Here's the recipe. Make it—and then congratulate yourself for being the best gift-giver of 2021.

Need more boozy holiday drink inspiration? Read about senior editor/food editor Cooper Levey-Baker's go-to eggnog and Roberto Villaneuvo's Puerto Rican coquito.

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