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?

Dear Santa…

Open letter to Santa Claus:

Dear Santa,

I know you are very busy making dreams come true for westernized children all over the world, stimulating the economy and driving stressed-out parents to drink. That’s cool. I just wanted you to know that there are very few things in my liquor cabinet right now. The cupboard is bare, Santa, and I’m hoping you will come through for me.

Here’s my current inventory, if you haven’t been following me:

  • Bacardi Big Apple Rum—8 oz or so
  • Malibu—maybe 3 oz
  • Cusano Rojo Mezcal—2 oz, worm definitely dead
  • El Senorio Mezcal—4 oz, never opened, worm still hanging out in there
  • Appleton Estate Rum—2 oz

So that’s not very good, right? How can I mix myself a Green Man or a Snowglobe or a Naughty Monkey without some core ingredients? I know you understand because you have a very red nose—the kind that’s bursting with blood vessels from years of imbibing excess. You feel me, right? You get my needs?

Okay, Santa, so here’s what I’d like:

  • Bacardi white rum
  • Bacardi 151
  • Blackberry brandy
  • Strawberry liqueur
  • Banana liqueur
  • Hypnotiq (or more Malibu if you can’t find Hypnotiq)

That will take care of Christmas morning. In the afternoon I’d like (please):

  • Pernod
  • Champagne
  • Melon liqueur
  • Bailey’s
  • Crown Royal
  • Amaretto liqueur

Okay. That covers most of Christmas day. Then there’ll be a big song-and-dance about making dinner and I’ll disappear for a while for a nap. I might skulk to the table if there’s wine (would you bring some chardonnay and pinot gris please?) but won’t really need anything until later, and then…

  • Peppermint schnapps
  • Goldschlager – yeah!!!

I realize this doesn’t really stock a liquor cabinet; a lot of these are specialty items that don’t figure in everyone’s everyday drinking. But I think it’s a travesty that my parents won’t keep these things on hand. Sure, they can be relied upon to buy a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer once in a while, but they are hopeless about setting up a bar. So maybe you can come through for me, Santa, and bring a few bottles. That is, if you are not too laden down with toys for the kids here (and really, they don’t need anything much, and what you do bring them could be very small and space-efficient, if you get my drift).

Also, if you wanted to bring these things early, for Hanukkah rather than Christmas, that would be great. That way you’d have lots of room in your sleigh and you could get some driving practice before Christmas Eve, so it would be very win-win for us. I celebrate every holiday to excess and believe that liquor has a place at each and every one.

I always believed in you Santa—don’t forget, okay?