CANADIAN CREAM—Empty somehow without Glen

My Fellow Inebriates,

Glen Bear has still not materialized anywhere at LBHQ.

Last night Blackie and I had a good cry about it while Fluffy observed us emotionlessly and Scarybear attacked a plate of ginger cookies, which he would have done anyway.

This should not be a sorrowful time of year. This is Glen’s favorite time of year, when his big, thick coat of white fur is his best asset and he doesn’t mind cuddling.

Glen as a baby, 2006

Glen as a baby, 2006

But he’s gone. He seems to be…really gone.

It didn’t seem respectful to drown our sorrows last night, but what the hell else was there to do?

Blackie Bear isn’t an alcoholic, and he has some common decency, so he hesitated—but not after we’d got the CANADIAN CREAM open. The lid wasn’t even tightly on, my fellow inebriates, it was a cinch. This means my mum was into it last. With her habit of returning jars and bottles to the fridge and cupboards with the lids barely on, my dad won’t even pick up a jar or bottle by the neck any more; it’s too dangerous. He retaliates by closing jars and bottles so tightly that she in turn can’t get them open without asking him nicely. This is the state of their marriage. It’s also how I know who’s been into what most recently. And my mum has apparently had some of my liqueur, otherwise Blackie and I wouldn’t be able to pour a toast to Glen.

Ahhhh, I know you’ve been wondering how our CANADIAN CREAM turned out. Or maybe not, in which case, here’s a picture of some people shopping at Walmart.


When we first made the CANADIAN CREAM it seemed a little thin. Then again, we couldn’t remember the exact consistency of Bailey’s. (And no one would buy any, even to be scientific.) Over the last 17 days our concoction has thickened noticeably, achieving what seems to be the right viscosity. How does it smell?

The aroma is comfortingly familiar—definitely in the neighborhood of Bailey’s if not right next door. The top note is milk chocolate, a full cup of which went into our recipe. Next time we should probably reduce this a little.

20121117_100557Under the chocolate is the scent of delicious whisky, mellowed somewhat by a fortnight in a plastic milk jug. Of course it hasn’t really aged; whisky ages in casks, after which it ceases to mature. If it were to take on the characteristics of a two-litre plastic jug…well, we wouldn’t really want that. But somehow our three cups of Wisers have married nicely with the milk ingredients; the mixture doesn’t have the same searing booziness it had when we first poured it into the jug. Which is to say, it’s become less appealing.

The container needs a vigorous shake. Some of the chocolate has settled down to the bottom—not in chunks or particles, mind you, just a layer of darker chocolatiness that reluctantly goes back into solution if you jump up and down with the jug for a while.

CANADIAN CREAM coats the ice cubes in a crystal rock glass, looking eerily like Bailey’s but naggingly not. It is thick and creamy, but not as smooth as it should be. It foams a little over the ice instead of settling into a smooth, placid surface.

Not only is Glen missing; so is the camera charger. Not only THAT; my parents have refused to buy Bailey's Irish Cream for to compare with our custom hooch. Luckily, someone else on the Internet has taken such a picture already. Photo:

Not only is Glen missing; so is the camera charger. Not only THAT; my parents have refused to buy Bailey’s Irish Cream to compare with our custom hooch. Luckily, someone else on the Internet has taken such a picture already. The one on the left is Bailey’s. The one on the right is homemade. 

The consistency feels right. But there is something missing in the taste. And something added.


  • ???? We can’t figure it out. Almond? Vanilla? Coffee?
  • Booze. It needs a smidge more.


  • Definitely chocolate. It’s not oppressive, but the additional chocolate makes our version seem a little sophomoric—like a milkshake but less thick.
  • Something higher-frequency…not sourness, this stuff had better not be souring this soon. But something about the homemade stuff is not quite as…deep.

Blackie’s verdict:

“Good, but dude…this isn’t right. Is there any more?”

LB’s verdict:

“It’s not right, but Glen would want us to have it.”

The upshot? A sense of dissatisfaction. A longing for the exact right thing and a sense of discomposure at not quite having it. Kind of like if someone suddenly produced a polar bear who looked just like Glen but was really just one of his Animal Alley™ twins. Not our Glen with the stained paw. Not our Glen whose fur Miss P decided to trim one day. Not our Glen who warms me up with a winter cuddle.


How (not?) to mollify an angry Irish bear

My dad has finally accepted the reality of the Fluffy Problem.

He’s been laughing it off for quite a while, telling me I’m delusional. (Yeah, and who’s talking to a bear?) But a couple of mornings ago the stove woke him up. Beeping. All on its own, people!

No one had set the oven timer. There hadn’t been any clock-resetting electrical outage; the clock time displayed correctly—but the stupid thing was beeping at 6:00 a.m. It would have to have been set the evening before. What the hell? Seriously, no one at LBHQ is so super-curious about household appliances that they’d bother to figure out how to set a 12-hour timer…holy crap, for what reason?

Finally we figured it out. The night before, the family had watched a movie. We bears sat on the couch getting kicked and shoved and tangled up in V’s favorite comforter. Somehow Fluffy got kicked off the couch and rolled under it, where he stayed all night after the family had gone upstairs and we other bears had been tucked into bed (i.e., the laundry basket).

No one noticed that Fluffy had been abandoned. He was alone all night. And even when the oven timer started bleating at 6:00 a.m., no one put it together that it was powered by Fluffy’s mind. Not until later when he was discovered under the couch.

OMG, my fellow inebriates. If Fluffy can make the oven do something it’s not even supposed to, that means he can do anything electrical. He could set the house on fire, my fellow inebriates. He could fry us all.

So our first order of business is to make nice with Fluffy.

The most obvious way to do this, I decided today, was to offer him a taste of the liqueur we made on the weekend. Sure, the recipe says to let it mellow three weeks or more, but we have an emergency here. We have an Irish bear in the house with angry magical powers who might (logically) be mollified by some Irish Canadian Cream.

But getting into the fridge turned out to be a bitch. That appliance has some mean suction on it, and I was stuck for quite a while. When my dad did finally discover me, he paused to take a picture.

And then another.

“Bearly had a chance,” said my dad.

And so the countdown to our tasting continues…ploddingly. No Irish Canadian Cream tonight, which leaves us at the mercy of whatever Fluffy does next.

Just as well, perhaps. Is it creeping determinism to say it might be for the best that Fluffy doesn’t critique our homemade liqueur? Who knows what he might do if he realizes the base spirit isn’t Jameson Irish whisky but…Wisers?

Our own Irish (well, actually Canadian) Cream—at one-third the price of store-bought! (And YOU can do it too!)

Check it out, my fellow inebriates. With roughly $33 worth of simple ingredients, we’re going to make almost 3 litres of dreamy Irish Canadian cream liqueur. Yes!

Okay, so typically we wouldn’t get all the ingredients ready like this. My mum would be more likely to begin a recipe, then run around the kitchen looking for ingredients she didn’t bother reading about, all the while cursing whatever’s burning, only to realize we’re out of whatever she needs. But today we got organized. After all, this is a documentary of sorts.

The Recipe

  • 8.75 oz milk chocolate chips (call it a rounded cup)
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 750 mL whisky (that’s 3 cups to you imperialists)
  • 2 cans condensed milk
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 2.5 cups whipping cream

Can you believe it? That’s it! In fact, the only complicated part of this whole deal is getting the chocolate chips to melt nicely. If you don’t have a double boiler (and who does?), just put a smaller saucepan inside a larger one partly filled with water. Get the water gently boiling, then simmer it, making sure the water won’t go apeshit-splashy into the small saucepan. Put the chocolate chips and the espresso shot inside the little saucepan and stir as they melt. Mmmmm!

Meanwhile, get a bowl like our big pink one and pour the whisky into it. (Usually we make cookies and cakes in the big pink bowl, which makes the kids come running, and today was no exception. They loved making Canadian cream liqueur.)

Once the chocolate is melted and well stirred (no lumps), pour it into the whisky, whisking it up immediately so it doesn’t get a chance to harden. You’ll probably get a few little chips at the bottom, but most of the chocolate should become happily suspended in the whisky. It will look like the Exxon Valdez spill at first, then like diarrhea. Don’t worry, you’re doing it right.

Empty all four cans into the bowl and whisk everything up. The mixture will lighten pleasantly.

Pour the whipping cream in. This is the AHA! moment when you realize it looks just like the store-bought stuff. Just like it, people!

Whisk the mixture to ensure the color is uniform. Then…do you have a container ready?

Our branding/packaging is still incomplete, so we’re using this 4 L milk jug for the next two weeks while our Canadian Cream mellows. We’ll give it a shake every day, look longingly at it, sniff it…and after two weeks have passed torturously by, we’re going to pound it. Ahhh!

Almost forgot: store-bought Irish cream goes for $55 per 1.75 L. Our yield is 2.85 L for $33! OMG, making your own is one-third the cost of buying it!

Review in T minus two weeks, so save the date, MFI 😉