If you have seen me in the last week I will have told you the story of Baileys. More specifically I would have run up to you like an overexcited Pomeranian and forced you to sit as I regaled you with the tale of the Irish cream. This amazing story of tax, Soho and cream has captured my imagination like no other.
It all started when I decided to crack the Baileys out of the cupboard and toast the impending Christmas season. Yes the Baileys was three years old, and yes drinking Baileys by yourself on a Tuesday night might be considered sad, but…actually I don’t have a but here, it is both sad and questionable behaviour. Feel free to stage an intervention any time now. I happened to look at the bottle after a couple of sips and noticed that the ingredients were ‘whiskey and cream’. It really shocked me, I’m not sure what I thought Baileys was made of, but whiskey and cream were not it. I did what any millennial in winter does, I took to Instagram Stories to broadcast my amazement and ask if it could possibly be true. (Side note, to experience such ground-breaking revelations in real time you can follow me here: @therunawaykiwi ).
What I got back was a resounding confirmation, yes Baileys was just whiskey and cream. However the answers started me down a rabbit hole of the origins of Baileys. And boy oh boy it’s a good one. In the late 60’s there was a company that was looking for products that could be exported from Ireland because there was a great tax break in the offing. Two guys in Soho (yes, the London Soho) thought they would have a crack at it. They went down to the corner store and grabbed the products that could be vaguely considered Irish and mixed them together. It tasted questionable at best, so they added sugar and Baileys was born. Not exactly the traditional Irish creation I pictured. As for the name, even that was a uniquely London affair, they named it after Baileys Bistro the restaurant that was underneath their office.
All of which brought me to this blog post. I never thought product creation was so simple, and if two guys in Soho can make their millions from a cream concoction then surely I can do the same. Time for the experiment, if successful I might be onto a multi-million dollar idea, if un-successful then I would be full of curdled cream and various spirits on a Tuesday night…seriously that intervention is welcomed any day now.
Chambord and Cream
Hypothesis: Strawberries and cream is a common combination right? So raspberries (that’s what Chambord is???) and cream must be palatable at the very least.
Result: This is a solid 8/10 winner. It was one of only two that I finished off and didn’t spit take over my carpet. It is super sweet and would taste great over ice cream or for that matter as ice cream – can someone with an ice cream maker please create this for me? For some reason it tastes quite floral, which is going to be excellent when it comes to logo design (I’m thinking getting hipsters tattooed with flowers as part of the launch event). I did write in my notes that “kids would love it”, but given the alcohol content that might not be the best idea. Only an 8/10 because turns out small shots of cream are inherently gross.
Mulled Wine and Cream
Hypothesis: This could be the Christmas hit for 2018, it would be the best parts of Christmas in a single sip. I’m hoping for a rich spicy flavour that will allow you to be buzzed all day.
Result: Oh god 1/10. Mulled wine and cream might be the work of the devil, it tastes curdled even as you’re drinking it. It’s like a child has accidentally dropped an open bottle of mulled wine in the bath and then you had to drink it (PSA: Don’t give children mulled wine in the bath, or any wine for that matter). If you want to get a taste for this horror just add some balsamic vinegar and a cinnamon stick to your morning cup of tea and try not to vomit. In some weird quirk of science, the mulled flavour is completely missing in the shot.
Malibu and Cream
Hypothesis: Coconut is the 2017 opiate of the masses, and apparently you can put it on or in anything and it makes it instantly healthy. I’m sure this one is going to be drinkable at least.
Result: Another 8/10! This is delicious if you like fake coconut flavour in your dessert. It does taste a little like you are drinking a suntan lotion but I can see how this would completely work with a pineapple based dessert. Although as I learned from a close friend, if you had questionable experiences in a club in the early 2000’s then avoid this at all costs, this is your Malibu trigger warning.
Hendrick’s and Cream
Hypothesis: Of all the gins in my collection (its getting rather extensive, I must do a post on it soon) I chose Hendrick’s because I thought the mellow rose and cucumber flavours would complement the cream perfectly, like a fancy panna cotta.
Result: This must never be repeated 1/10. Turns out when you mix cream and alcohol together it enhances the strength of the alcohol flavour, in this case it means all you can taste is pretty much straight vodka (yes I know it is gin, but this combination did weird things to me and all I got was vodka). You do get a token aftertaste of either rose or your grandmother’s perfume, but mostly it just tastes like you are licking an aggressive seal who is Instagram famous. Of all the experiments this is the one that I could still taste years later prickling my tongue, haunting not only me but future generations.
Rum and Cream
Hypothesis: I mean, Waitrose sells Brandy Cream at Christmas, and this is pretty much the same thing right (look I know about gin ok, but the amber spirits go over my head). Regardless there is a lot of rum in desserts so this must be ok.
Result: Not too shabby 6/10. If you like pudding but get weird over carbs then this shot cuts right to the good bits. Highly recommended, quite smoky with hints of caramel, it almost tastes like a pirate you know on Facebook got stuck in a dairy while looking for loot and you ‘liked’ his ironic post about it. I might be quite drunk now.
Sloe gin and Cream
Hypothesis: Sloe gin has the berry rich flavours that worked so well with the Chambord, so this could be the gin redemption tour as part of this experiment.
Result: Gin is going to be banned from all future experiments 1/10. I would say this is the worst, but we were all there for the Hendrick’s rumble. Thankfully it pretty much curdled as soon as the sloe looked at the cream so you don’t have to worry about your stomach doing any of the work. Just like the normal gin the alcohol flavour of this is hugely enhanced which means you get rid of all the richness of the sloe and are left with the devils saliva. Not a fan.
Well…I’m now drunk and full of cream. My dreams of being the next Baileys millionaire is literally circling the drain. If I have learned anything from today (and from most of 2017 to be honest) it’s that we should not try to emulate the ideas of the late 60’s. I’m going to have a sleep now.