NZ Woman's Weekly

Making your own Irish Cream

I’m a big fan of making your own alcohol and in past columns have given you the recipes for cherry brandy and limoncello. I have to tell you that two years ago I placed a big jar of cherry brandy in my caravan to mature and this year took it out.

Once strained, it was the most delicious concoction and I highly recommend you have a go at making some yourself. You might find some fresh cherries still available and probably at a good price at the end of the season.

When I found this recipe to make Irish Cream, which is also sold as Baileys, I naturally thought the delicious, creamy, alcoholic drink would date back hundreds of years.

I could see nanas in Ireland settling down in front of the fire with a wee glass of the stuff. But my research shows that while Irish whisky is as old as the hills, it wasn’t until Gilbeys of Ireland came up with the product in 1974 that the first Irish Cream was put on the market.

The name Baileys and the RA Bailey signature are both fictional, inspired by Bailey’s Hotel in London. You can make this quickly and it really does taste like the real thing, so why not make up a batch and serve it to your friends as an after-dinner treat?


  • 1 tin evaporated milk (375ml)
  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk (350ml)
  • 2 eggs (free range)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 1/2 tbsp drinking chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups whisky

1. Put all the ingredients into a jug and whisk together. Serve over ice and keep in the fridge.


  • 50g butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp Irish Cream
  • 100g cream cheese

1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and beat with a handheld electric whisk or wooden spoon until combined. Chill for at least 20 minutes.

2. Spoon over cooled cakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.


  • Large glass jar (I use the ones with a sealing lid)
  • Fresh cherries (enough to fill the jar)
  • Caster sugar
  • Brandy (get the cheapest one you can find)

1. Take the stem off each cherry and prick the fruit all over with a sterilised darning needle.

2. Fill the jar almost to the top with the cherries, making sure to discard rotten ones. Pour in caster sugar so it fills from the bottom to about one third of the jar.

3. Top up the jar with brandy. Seal with a lid and store in a cool, dark place for six weeks.

Do you have a Nana recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear about it. Email me at or write to Nana’s Pantry, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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