One of several nice things about Baileys Irish Cream is how long it lasts when it’s opened. You would think that as it contains cream it would go off quickly, but no. Baileys says that from the date that it’s made it has a shelf life of two years, whether it’s opened or unopened, and whether you keep it in the fridge or not. There’s a Best Before date on the bottle. The only proviso is that you don’t let it linger in direct sunlight, and don’t let it experience temperature extremes beyond 0-25C (32-77F). So don’t stick it in your freezer.
Baileys is the kind of drink that seems to have been around forever, but in fact it was only launched in 1974 when it was the first Irish cream drink on the market. It was a drink manufactured to appeal to an international market and it certainly succeeded. As well as cream and Irish whiskey it contains a cocoa extract, sugar and a secret selection of herbs… and possibly other ingredients that the makers are keeping to themselves.
I admit I’ve always had a soft spot for Baileys. It appeals to my sweet tooth, and at 17% ABV it works well after a meal if you don’t fancy a serious drink like scotch or cognac. I was therefore delighted to discover that last year Baileys introduced an even more seductive-sounding drink: Baileys Pumpkin Spice. Boy, does that sound good or what?
I’ve only just got round to sampling it, as it’s very definitely a seasonal drink, perfect for autumn and winter nights. To the familiar mix of Irish whiskey and cream is added a blend of autumnal spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. And pumpkin, of course.
Baileys Pumpkin Spice is the same 17% ABV as the original, and the smell is as gorgeous as you’d expect. To the creamy vanilla smell of regular Baileys Irish Cream add a dash of extra fruity sweetness balanced by an earthy spiciness.
And the taste is sensational! If I love Baileys Irish Cream then I double-love this pumpkin spice variation. It has the complexity you’d expect from a good liqueur, with all kinds of flavours rolling over your tongue – buttery vanilla, creamy coffee, chocolate, pumpkin, cinnamon. It slipped down a treat, and was dangerously more-ish.
The drink is perfect on its own, and we didn’t want to dilute it by trying it on the rocks but that is another serving suggestion. It would also be magical poured over a dessert, like chocolate ice cream or even a Christmas pudding.
The bottle comes with some mixing suggestions too.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
2 oz Baileys Pumpkin Spice
1.5 oz freshly brewed coffee
1 oz milk
Serve it warm or over ice with some freshly grated cinnamon.
Old Fashioned Pumpkin
1.5 oz Baileys Pumpkin Spice
0.75 oz bourbon (Bulleit preferred)
Shake with ice and serve.
Pumpkin Spice Chai
2 oz Baileys Pumpkin Spice
4 oz warm milk steeped with chai tea bag
Serve with whipped cream.
They all sound decadently delicious. But oh dear. We opened ours as an extra treat for Christmas, and it was gone within a few days, before I noticed the cocktail suggestions. There was no way this was going to be around for two years!