FEENEY’S IRISH CREAM—For breakfast, while being watched

My fellow inebriates,

I promised you a sob story revealing why my typists (aka Mum and Dad) have left me to twiddle my thumbless paws for over a year now while my blog wallows in the lowest reader stats it’s ever seen.

But then I had breakfast (aka FEENEY’S IRISH CREAM), which had been lurking in the back of the fridge since Christmas. Obviously my mum was the last tippler, because the top was barely on (she has no idea how to close anything; either it’s barely on or it’s hopelessly misthreaded and you have to bash it against the sink to get it open). Anyway, it was my mum’s incompetence that enabled my miraculous Feeney’s breakfast.

An odd breakfast, you say?

feeneys-2You wouldn’t say that if it was in a morning coffee on New Year’s Day, would you? Then it would be okay. Or if you were camping. If you’re camping anything goes! To further make my case, I had no idea what date it was today. For all I knew, it could have been New Year’s Day. I don’t pay attention to calendars. So I slipped the top off the Feeney’s, inserted a straw, and…OMG, my fellow inebriates, what a yummy breakfast! You have to try this, people. Never mind what day it is. I suggest doing it just because it’s a day.

A 750mL bottle of Feeney’s sells at our local booze store for $20.99. That’s $6 less than the more famous Bailey’s Original Irish Cream. So how does it compare?

If you ask my dad, who immediately noted the price difference, he’ll say Feeney’s has nothing on Bailey’s. Ask my mum, presumably responsible for the half-bottle’s worth missing before I discovered it for breakfast, and she’ll say it’s practically identical. Made with cream and aged Irish whisky, Feeney’s is rich and luxurious, smooth and slightly chocolatey. Perhaps it tastes different (better?) than Bailey’s—but who knows? I’d have to urge my parents to buy both at once, and that’s about as likely as an asteroid hitting the house. Nope, the holiday season is over, and we probably won’t see either beverage until next winter.

2016-12-17-09-41-57Totally aside, but just to give you a small update of what’s been going on at LBHQ, while I consumed my delicious Feeney’s breakfast, I was observed by GERBILS. Yes, for the past 13 months, gerbils have been living with us. They reside in a gigantic glass tank in the dining room. At first I was afraid they would make similar fridge forays to mine and finish off the booze before I could, but then I realized they’re confined to their tank. My dad says they don’t feel confined because the tank is huge, but hey—who knows what they’re thinking? (Except Miss V, who can channel them.)

To be frank, I’m a little jealous of them, because when we first got them my mum said: “Wow, it’s great having animals in the house. They’re so animated, aren’t they, LB?”

And then she said to the kids, “Make sure you never put LB in the gerbil tank. If you do, they’ll chew him up in no time flat.”

OMG!!!

Balls!

My Fellow Inebriates,

Our Canadian Cream is almost ready for consumption. Not that we haven’t had a small sip already, but at the end of this week it should be as good as it’s going to get—i.e., ready to chug. I have a few nagging worries, though.

Canadian Cream Label copyWhen we made the liqueur, we bought a one-litre carton of whipping cream. Two and a half cups went into the mix, my mum put half a cup or so in some solid-food risotto-like thing, and the rest sat in the fridge with nothing to do. Recycling day came along and, since the unused cream was two days away from expiry, we gave it a sniff. OMG! Holy shit, people! That cream smelled rank. Holy crap, two days early the stuff was horrid. Mum poured it down the drain and rinsed the carton…but it was hard not to look at our giant Canadian Cream jug and think…the same cream’s in there! OMG!

That’s really the reason we got into it early—to make sure it wasn’t off. You wouldn’t want to take a big slug of sour milk products and end up barfing. But it smelled fine. It tasted fine.

Alcohol keeps food from going off.

So what is this amazing preservative power of alcohol all about? How does it work?

Simply put, alcohol is poisonous. At concentrations above 15 percent, bacteria and fungi can’t survive. That having been said, cream-liqueur experts advise against keeping homemade concoctions more than a few weeks, and only then in the fridge. Roger that—we’d better finish this shit now. Review…on the way 😉

To this sage advice, my mum said, “Oh. I guess we’d better not make another batch then. It’ll be enough to get through this lot.”

This is exactly the opposite of what I meant. Of course we should make another batch. Right now.

But instead she said we were going to make whisky balls.

rum balls

I was immediately suspicious. Another recipe requiring us to cook with booze? OMG! The angels’ share is supposed to be miniscule—the tiny portion that evaporates naturally, not liberal gases spewing into the air from a hot saucepan. Damn it, why do the angels get any of our booze? Aren’t they supposed to be perfect creatures? Not addicts jonesing in distillery cask rooms.

“Relax,” said my mother. “Behave yourself.”

Apparently you don’t cook whisky balls.

They’re just like rum balls, which you don’t cook either—only they’re made by people who are too ungenerous to buy rum for loveable bears who have repeatedly requested it. Whisky balls are a not-horrible-sounding variation on rum balls. Let’s do this shit.

Here’s what we need:
  • 3 ¼ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 ½ cup walnuts 
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • ½ cup whisky

Life is a compromise at LBHQ, so we’re using graham crumbs. We have to do this without Miss V seeing, or she will demand a bowlful of them (not that she would deign to eat a graham cracker).

Next two ingredients: check.

Walnuts…the kids will bitch a very great deal if walnuts go into this recipe. But perhaps they shouldn’t be the arbiters of our whisky-ball ingredients.

Corn syrup is one of those things that doesn’t age, and ours is probably older than I am. We’re going to use it anyway.

As for throwing half a cup of Canadian whisky into this recipe…what the hell. The plastic Wiser’s jug is enormous and its somewhat atonal siren song has been relentless lately—better do something with it other than just pound it. Sigh.

rum ball mixingOkay, so you really just mix all this stuff up and shape it into balls. (OMG, I’m not even allowed to help with that—what’s the big deal, a little fur?) Then you sequester your balls away for a few days in an airtight container so the flavor can mellow. Five days is about ideal. But it’s hard to be away from your balls for five days. You might find yourself opening the container and sniffing your balls every so often, wondering if they’re ripe.

Whisky or whiskey balls?

If your balls are Scottish, Canadian, or Japanese, they’re whisky balls.

If your balls are American or Irish, they’re whiskey balls. As a rule of thumb, if your country has an “e” in the spelling, so does your whisk(e)y and any balls made therefrom.

GRAY FOX CHARDONNAY (2010)—choice of sociopaths

My Fellow Inebriates,

Last year my mum caused me spasms of horror by pouring a bottle of Henkell Trocken over the roasting Christmas turkey. (Henkell Trocken is really not for that, people—it’s citrusy and dry with good acidity.) I died inside when she did that, so this year she had a little mercy on me and opted for a dirt-cheap bottle of chardonnay instead.

Gobbling up a hand

I did try to persuade her not to do it at all. But my mother can be very cutting. Her eyes narrowed, and she said, “Sometimes I look at you and suspect you’re inanimate.” Then she opened the oven and poured a bottle of GRAY FOX chardonnay all over the bird.

I did get a small glass before the culinary sacrifice. But I wasn’t optimistic; $6.99 is just about as cheap as wine gets at my local booze shop, and at that price I expect a tastebud offensive, a chorus of plonky mismatched notes with manure and hell-knows-what-else in the background.

So it was a relief to find that GRAY FOX chardonnay tastes like…white grape juice. Really.

With orchard fruitiness dominating the nose and very little of the excessive oak that’s typical of a try-hard California chardonnay, GRAY FOX qualifies as mostly harmless. It won’t make you retch, nor will it appeal to you with complexity and butteriness. At 12% alcohol it sure kicks Welch’s Grape Juice’s ass, yet it seems like too much of a kissing cousin to that kid-friendly beverage. Forgive me, but it doesn’t taste done. Now, you guys know I’m an idiot with a furry mouth and not a ghost of an oenophile’s qualifications, but this wine tastes like it needed to ferment a little longer. It’s grapey, and I’m not sure how intentional that was on the part of the vintner.

I told my mum GRAY FOX would make a good gateway wine for children, only to get the obligatory reminder that I mustn’t encourage irresponsible drinking. So I’ll put it this way: Kids would really like this wine, but don’t give it to them.

But don’t throw it all over a turkey either—OMG, what a waste of alcohol. The fact that my mum thought it made good gravy doesn’t make it okay. But when a sociopathic hausfrau covered in giblets and poultry grease seizes a wine bottle, you just have to let her do her thing.