Christmas Cocktails with Baileys and Felder Felder

BaileysChristmasCocktail

What do you think of when you think of Baileys cocktails? Heavy, creamy concoctions? Or maybe just pouring some into a coffee at the end of a meal? Well, yesterday evening I was treated to three delicious and wonderfully luxurious Christmas cocktails created especially by Dav Eames, Bar Manager at The Gilbert Scott at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.

Dav Eames Bar Manager at the Gilbert Scott and our host.

Dav Eames Bar Manager at the Gilbert Scott and our host.

As I walked up the steps, It was certainly a fine, grand setting for such an occasion, but after going to reception, I was surprised to be directed downstairs, through the edge of the kitchen, to a table neatly situated at the far end, with a superb view of the start of the dinner service.

Over the next hour or so, we got to try three custom-made Christmas cocktails, all combined with wonderful canapes from the kitchen, including what is easily the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth mince pie (with a slightly chewy, caramelised top) I have ever tasted. But, throughout, the stars of the show were really the cocktails; here’s what we tried.

Mr. Eames Rather Fancy Shaker and Accessories

Mr. Eames Rather Fancy Shaker and Accessories

A Walk in the Woods
35ml Baileys Original
25ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur
15ml Kirsch Eau de Vie
20ml Amaretto
One piece of orange zest and some cloves

Stir or shake over ice and strain.

Walk in The Woods

Walk in The Woods

The garnish on this drink was pretty impressive: firstly, the glasses had been kept in the freezer, decorated with a sprig from the Christmas tree and ribbon, all sprayed with silver. The rim of the glass was wiped with an orange, then dipped into a dish of granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg with just a little bit of edible gold dust.

The result was a truly luxurious Christmas cocktail. The sugar and spice encrusted rim added a sweetness and an interesting texture to start. The cocktail itself was fruity to start, with the Kirsch coming through like dark, alcoholic gateaux with cream, followed by a real freshness of the orange. The finish was a combination of creamy chocolate, cinnamon and orange. Absolutely superb.

Spice Route
30ml Baileys Original
20ml Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
25ml Bols Genever (infused with prunes, sultanas, orange and a few other Christmas-y ingredients from the kitchen – Dav suggested experimenting at home with whatever you might have to hand; DTS has made many a delicious cocktail using gin or vodka  that have been infused with mincemeat)

Build in a glass, add ice and stir. Garnish with a twist of orange.

Spice Route Cocktail

Spice Route Cocktail

This had a particularly fresh, orange nose, with ginger and oats. The texture was creamy, but not heavy, with a smooth, maltiness to it. Light notes of Christmas cake are accompanied by notes of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and milk. The finish was of ginger and prunes.

Every sip of this cocktail was slightly different, with another spice or fruit note coming through a little more – marvellous!

Earl Bailey
35ml Baileys Original
35ml Cognac infused with Earl Grey tea (add 2tsp of tea [or 2-3 tea bags] per 350ml of Cognac and leave in a warm place for at least 48 hours)

Mix (in a teapot, if you’re so inclined) and serve at room temperature.

Spice Route Cocktail

Earl Baileys Cocktail

Lovely and warming. This is an excellent, but unexpected combination of flavours; the Earl Grey notes, usually heavy, were feather-light and came through first, powerful and aromatic, followed by a creaminess from the Baileys and a real, hearty warmth from the Cognac.

In Conclusion
These cocktails opened my eyes to combining Baileys with new flavours, as well as reminding me that the cream liqueur can be used to great effect without weighing the drink down. I was torn between all three, but think the second one just scrapes through as my favourite; I loved how every sip brought forth a slightly different, but equally tasty flavour of Christmas. An excellent cocktail to enjoy as you sit down during all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

– Mrs. B.

A Postscript – introducing the Felder Felder bottle for Valentine’s
Just before we left, we were all the lucky recipients of a bottle of flavoured Baileys – I chose Baileys with a hint of coffee. These limited edition bottles were designed along with Felder Felder, and will be available next Valentine’s Day.

Baileys Felder and Felder

A Couple of Christmas Cocktails with Bailey’s Orange Truffle

Tomorrow, I’ve had an invitation to a Baileys Christmas Cocktail event to mix up some festive fun with the Irish Cream Liqueur, to celebrate the limited edition Baileys bottles designed by jewellery duo Felder Felder.

Baileys Felder and Felder

Given its popularity on the website and its festive flavours, we’ve decided to twist some of the cocktails that we’ll be making tomorrow to use Baileys Orange Truffle, which I also reviewed here: ‘Baileys Orange Truffle – the new flavour’.

The Baileys Slice of Christmas

OrnageBaileysCocktail2
50ml Baileys Orange Truffle
25ml Grand Marnier

Add the ingredients to a glass, add a single large piece of ice and a twist of orange.

Chocolate orange to start, with a hint of zestiness and then the flavour moves towards a rich, thick chocolate flavour, not unlike the middle of a Lindt chocolate. Rather indulgent and delicious, but thankfully not too sickly, nor heavy, due to the strong orange flavours from the Grand Marnier.

The Baileys Whip (variation)

OrnageBaileysCocktail1

25ml Baileys Orange Truffle
25ml Cold Espresso
10ml Vanilla Vodka
10ml Butterscotch Schnapps

Shake and then top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Like a delicious coffee cream (I used to love those in Quality Street), with some hints of orange, too. The dark, bitter coffee balances out the sweeter, more indulgent flavours (such as vanilla and butterscotch) and gives a clean, dry finish. The cream adds a little indulgence, whilst the cinnamon adds a little spice and the gold and silver stars a touch of festive flare.

Cocktails with… Baileys Biscotti

Baileys Biscotti Title

After the recent unveiling of Baileys Orange Truffle, I decided I should really write about Baileys Biscotti, which made its début in September of last year (2011). This is a blend of the Original Baileys cream liqueur with added flavour of biscotti biscuits: dry, double-baked biscuits made with almonds that originate from Italy. In the UK, I’ve only ever had them served with coffee, although Wikipedia tells me that they are also often served with either fortified or dessert wine, depending upon your location (and both of which I’d like to try).

Baileys Biscotti

On its own

Nose: Very sweet and a strong, distinctive note of layers of wafer filled with vanilla cream, which was so strong that I found it difficult to find anything else. A hint of coffee made its way in towards the end.

Taste: Velvety and viscous from the outset, but also rather sweet. The flavour, like the nose, reminded me more of vanilla wafers than biscotti, although there’s a dryness on the finish that reminds me of almonds. At the very start, there’s a hint of coffee and whiskey, but this is quickly washed away by an intense hit of sugar and then a long, lingering creaminess.

Over ice Baileys Biscotti - Over Ice

The nose was unchanged over ice, but the drink itself seemed even sweeter and less balanced, reminding me of a poorly-made cream cocktail.

With a dash of Poteen

To be more precise, I used an approximate 5:25 ratio of Poteen* to Baileys. I decided to try this, given how wonderful it was with Baileys Orange Truffle. In this drink, it added more of a kick and, although it reduced the cloying creaminess of the liqueur – very much a positive thing – and replaced some of those sweet vanilla notes with some spicier ones, the two sets of flavours just didn’t seem to pair as well. I’m saving my Poteen for superior combinations!

With Coffee

Without a doubt, this was where this liqueur was at its best. I used strong, bitter coffee, to help balance out the sweet and creamy aspects of the Baileys. The sugary, vanilla wafer note appeared briefly at the beginning of the drink, followed by the unmistakable flavour of coffee with cream. I’m sure this will still be too sweet for some, but then those people are unlikely to be looking for a cream liqueur to add to their coffee!

In Conclusion

I was initially intrigued at the prospect of this flavour, but I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed at how sweet and cloying it turned out to be. As such, the Orange Truffle remains my favourite version of Baileys, although the vanilla wafer notes of the Biscotti variety may occasionally find their way into a cup of my coffee.

– Mrs. B.

* Once again, we used the wonderful Knockeen Hills Poteen Extra-Gold Strength (90%ABV).

Bailey’s Orange Truffle – The NEW Flavour

If you like Bailey’s Orange Truffle why not check out our article on Bailey’s Biscotti for some simple cocktail ideas.

The scamps who run Baileys Facebook page are one of the more interactive teams and although I may not be the target market, I do find many of their posts of interest (a lot of my family love Baileys). They are also quite fun when it comes to releasing news; they gave away free miniatures of the Biscotti Baileys, and held a clue-solving competition for their new variety, Baileys Orange (Chocolate) Truffle.

Some may recall that Diageo (the owners of Baileys) used to make a Terry’s Chocolate Orange liqueur and I attempted a recreation here, which seemed quite popular, so I was intrigued to try this new version.

Trying to find a store with Bailey’s Orange Truffle? Check out their Facebook Page or Click Here for a List.

Baileys Orange Truffle is only available as a limited edition form certain Tesco stores and, unusually, is only available in litre bottles. It was originally released for duty free in markets such as New Zealand, hence the litre bottle.

From the bottle

“Baileys orange truffle flavour is crafted with care from fresh Irish Cream, the finest spirits and Irish Whiskey.”

“The finest spirits” in addition to whiskey? An interesting addition. The Baileys website doesn’t mention what these spirits are, but I would wager that it was some sort of dairy-based spirit, not unlike the whey-base of authentic Irish Poteen.

The Curdle

Anyone who has tried to make cocktails with Baileys will probably have realised that, often, if you mix it with vodka (which is usually grain-based) the drink will curdle, but, if you use a milk-based spirit, the curdling does not take place (as you would be mixing dairy with dairy).

Baileys mixed with Whey-spirit Poteen (left) and Grain vodka (right) – notice the curdle.

But enough of that – onto the taste of the new product!

On its own (at room temperature):
Nose: A strong nose of orange-flavoured chocolate, very much like Terry’s Chocolate Orange, rather than any chocolate containing orange fondant.
Taste: Exceptionally smooth and creamy. Refreshingly, it’s not too sweet, but it is very, very creamy. The orange chocolate notes are strong from the start, along with a burst of sugary sweetness, before this fades away to a less sweet and more lasting, but rather heavy, creaminess (definitely more double than single cream!). At the very end of the finish, there’s a faint hint of Irish whiskey, but the cream quickly takes over.

On its own (chilled):
The nose seemed sweeter, the drink itself more viscous and the finish warmer than at room temperature.

On its own (over ice):
It seems much more viscous when chilled, although it still isn’t too cloying. Again, there’s strong notes of orange chocolate and a pleasant finish of cream. Very, very easy to drink.

With Poteen:
When I say Poteen I mean the traditional whey-based spirit* and not some grain based variety (which would curdle). The Poteen adds a lovely, spicy kick to the drink and transforms this into a tasty spirit that is better to sip than gulp down. The orange chocolate notes are still very much present, but some of the previously dull cream notes on the finish are replaced with the more spicy creaminess of the Poteen, and there is, overall, a lighter, silkiness.

Baileys Orange Truffle and Coffee

Baileys Orange Truffle and Coffee

In Coffee:
This smells delicious, like a combination of coffee and orange fondant filled chocolates. The taste was very much like coffee with cream, but with hints of orange. Like the Baileys itself, it’s not overly sweet, although may be a tad too rich for those used to black coffee. I’d definitely recommend that anyone with a bottle gives this a go, though.

In Conclusion
I’m already a big fan of this; it’s by far my favourite version of Baileys, which I sometimes find sickly and cloying. The orange chocolate notes are captured to a tee and its long finish of cream and whiskey is refreshingly non-sweet. All-in-all, it’s ridiculously easy-to-drink, whether that be on its own, in coffee, or – my personal favourite – with a dash of Poteen, which transforms it into a delicious, almost spicy chocolate liqueur with real oomph.

Baileys Orange Truffle is available exclusively from selected Tesco Stores for a limited period for around £15 for One Litre

Bailey's & the whey-based Knockeen Hills Extra-Gold Poteen

Bailey’s & the whey-based Knockeen Hills Extra-Gold Poteen

*I used Knockeen Hills Extra Gold Strength (90%ABV) and mixed 25ml Baileys to 5ml Poteen; for a larger drink mix 50ml Baileys with 10ml Poteen. This creates a drink around 29.2% ABV.

*Update in answer to question*

Knockeen Hills Poteen Extra-Gold Strength (90%ABV) is available from TheDrinkShop.com for around £44 for 50cl (that will make 100 single Bailey’s Drinks)

If you want to try a smaller sample you can buy a 50ml Mini for £6.29 also from TheDrinkShop.com