Cream liqueur isn’t just for your grandmother anymore. Sure, you can pretend that it’s too sweet and creamy and downright embarrassing to drink, especially if you are a dedicated whiskey drinker who meticulously memorizes the mash bill of every brown spirit you consume. But there are some really good cream liqueur expressions out right now that are worth trying, some of which are brand-new. Poured over ice, sipped neat, splashed into some coffee, or even blended into a milkshake, there are plenty of ways to enjoy cream liqueur. It’s usually low proof, with an ABV hovering somewhere under the 20% mark – not that you can drink all that much in one sitting, anyway. The most common cream liqueur you’ll find is, of course, Baileys Irish Cream, which has been around since the mid-‘70s and is owned by the giant spirits conglomerate Diageo. Here’s a list of four cream liqueurs that aren’t Baileys – and one that is, because it’s new and it tastes pretty good – that are perfect for sipping by the fire this holiday season.
Baileys is the best known of the Irish cream brands, and is the number one selling liqueur in the world, according to Diageo. This fall saw the release of the new Pumpkin Spice version of the classic. It tastes exactly how it sounds (is #PSL still trending?), and is a cheaper way to make your coffee taste like a Starbucks seasonal offering at home. You’ll find sweet cinnamon, brown sugar, and baked piecrust flavors in this sweater weather indulgence.
The Kerrygold brand is a co-op of sorts – 14,000 Irish dairy farmers own and run it under the larger corporation Ornua. The new Kerrygold Irish Cream is a sweet treat full of chocolate, cream, and aged Irish whiskey. Kerrygold Irish Cream took home World’s Best Cream Liqueur at the 2016 World Drink Awards, an auspicious honor in the world of cream-based spirits if there ever was one. Baileys better watch its back.
Magnum takes a Scottish approach to the cream liqueur concept, combining Speyside single malt with Dutch cream to make a boozy, decadent dram. It also comes in cool looking metal canister that looks like an artillery shell or a military-grade Thermos. Try it straight, or make a boozy milkshake with this – the addition of scotch instead of Irish whiskey shines through quite nicely.
Six & Twenty is a little distillery located just outside of Greenville, South Carolina that is doing some interesting things. In addition to the bourbon, whiskey, gin, vodka, and watermelon brandy that are coming off the stills, the company makes a cream liqueur called Carolina Cream. It’s a blend of the distillery’s 5-Grain Bourbon with spices and rum-based cream. Carolina Cream is currently the distillery’s most popular offering, so if you find yourself down South, give it a try.
Black Button Distilling is located in the upstate New York town of Rochester, and produces a range of spirits, including its Empire State version of a cream liqueur. Obviously, the base of this Bourbon Cream is bourbon, offering a uniquely American take on the cream liqueur category. The bourbon is combined with cream liqueur and some caramel coloring, resulting in a sweet and milky version of the classic.