What Flavor Is Irish Cream Supposed To Be?

Not all liqueurs need to contain complex spice blends and secretive creation processes. Good old Irish cream comes together with an easy-to-love blend of whiskey, cream, a sweetener, and flavorings like chocolate syrup and instant coffee powder.

Sure, it's not top-level mixology, but it doesn't need to be — it's hard to deny the allure of a stiff, sweet, and creamy drink. And it all stems from the creation of its most famous form: Bailey's. The liqueur was invented in a London office in 1973, reportedly with a blender just under 45 minutes — similar to homemade versions today.

As the industry standard, consumers associate Irish cream with Bailey's flavor. Expect a chocolate and vanilla taste, propped by a whiskey sweetness that are all contained in a velvety and milky mouthfeel. And although this palate is what's usually expected from a bottle, other versions exist, too. After all, a liqueur's infusions are highly malleable. Here are a few other Irish cream forms to explore.

Irish cream flavors can vary from spicy to sweet

Irish cream is understandably interlinked with a sweet palate, but it's not a definitive quality. For example, whiskey fans will enjoy The Whistler's Irish Cream. This rendition uniquely integrates a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey, meaning the spirit's spice and character are especially robust in the mix. The chocolate and vanilla are still present on the nose, but the taste turns a few shades darker, with notes of coffee and toffee.

Fans of the liqueur's creamy character should sample Carolans Original Irish Cream. This version forgoes the strong notes of coffee and chocolate, instead pairing the whiskey with honey — a succulent combination perfectly poised for integration into cocktails. And if you prefer a dairy-free alternative, esteemed producer Bailey's offers a vegan spin made from almond milk. The nut gives the sweetness a different, more floral character that is extra flavored through the addition of vanilla.