BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM—emulsification, coagulation, inebriation

My Fellow Inebriates,

The recycling truck just passed by (we missed it and are stuck for another week with sky-high paper and corrugated cardboard). The house looks like a tornado hit it. What is all this holiday loot? Will it enhance our lives? Or is it tomorrow’s litter?

A few favorite things…

Last fall the four-year-old acquired Nacho the Chihuahua, complete with hook for attaching to keys or a child’s backpack. Miss V quickly elevated the animal to near-godhood, its presence necessary for sleep, bath, and all special occasions, including its own twice-weekly birthdays for which cakes are baked and decorated. For Christmas Santa brought the next-size-up Nacho, prompting an ecstatic family reunion for the two of them and, not least, Miss V.

I don’t mind Chihuahuas, but they make me think of tequila and our lack of it. Despite Nacho’s status as favorite pre-K Christmas present, it makes me really thirsty.

The six-year-old’s fave gift? An Easy Bake Oven. I was relieved to see the small opening in this frightening appliance as well as the exhortation to parents to participate in its use. This means I probably won’t get cooked in it, although the smaller Nacho might.

For my dad? A T-shirt. I don’t know if this was his favorite gift, but anything that prevents my dad from walking around shirtless is okay in my book.

And my mum? She got the best gift of all: BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM. Yes, it’s ass-expanding and heart-squeezing, but ahhhhh, there is nothing like Bailey’s (although, come to think of it, Carolan’s and Feeney’s are pretty good substitutes). Decadent and silky, BAILEY’S on ice is the best end-of-day reward for putting up with kids parenting. It’s gentle enough for whiskey novices to appreciate, and for those who still find it strong, a little milk dilutes it nicely.

Supposedly the BAILEY’S recipe wasn’t perfected until 1973 because whiskey and cream don’t naturally mix together. Plenty of DIY Irish cream chefs have experienced having to shake up their separated home versions. Gilbey’s of Ireland homogenizes BAILEY’S with the aid of an emulsifier, which is why theirs stays together and yours doesn’t. (But I wonder which tastes better? I still haven’t tried the DIY version.)

Brain Hemorrhage

The best thing about BAILEY’S is its versatility. It can be drunk straight, over ice, as part of a cocktail, or poured into coffee. A number of shooters call for BAILEY’S specifically because it coagulates when combined with acidic mixers, creating foul-looking drinks intended to be shot for sport and gross-out factor. It’s important to down these shooters really fast or the texture will make you toss your cookies.

What did you get for the holidays? Will it get you drunk? Or will it enhance your life in some other way?

6 thoughts on “BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM—emulsification, coagulation, inebriation

  1. Belinda says:

    Hi, i just stumbled on your blog because I was looking for information on baileys Irish cream. I have been having strange chest/heart pain after drinking baileys. Im not sure if it’s related or a coincidence. Your blog mentioned that baileys is “heart squeezing”. When you get a minute can you let me know what you meant by that? Thanks!!

    • \hi Belinda
      Whatever you do, don’t substitute my advice for that of a doctor. I used the term “heart-squeezing” in a very loose way, simply because Bailey’s is loaded with high-fat cream. I would certainly get this checked out by a doctor. All the best to you.

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