Capture the taste of Christmas in these cocktail and dessert recipes
With the festive season nearly upon us, we spoke with five restaurant owners who have created bespoke cocktails and desserts using Baileys Irish Cream as a key ingredient
Julius Havranek of Cork’s Cornstore says the Midnight Espresso, made using Baileys, is a big hit with customers. Photograph: Clare Keogh
As an island that continues to attract food lovers in numbers like never before, and at a time when we are increasingly becoming known for our culinary offerings as much as our music and literature, there are some foods and drinks that shout ‘Ireland’ louder than others.
A staple of Irish drinks cabinets, Baileys is one product that has steadily been making its mark on the menus and cocktail lists of bars and restaurants around the country, down through the years.
With Christmas just around the corner, we spoke with five restaurant owners who use only the best of Irish produce and who have created bespoke cocktails and desserts using Baileys as a key ingredient, in the run up to the festive season.
Guillaume Rabillat of Restaurant 44 in Belfast has created a Baileys Espressito, which includes ristretto, an even stronger shot than your average espresso, mixed with fresh mint- a strange mix that somehow works.
Baileys complements this combination of ingredients and the creaminess cuts through both the kick of the espresso and the freshness of the mint.
“This has a fantastic appeal to a wide range of customers and I find it is becoming increasingly popular as an element in cocktails,” he says.
A Midnight Espresso is a big hit with clientele in the Cornstore in Cork and Limerick, Julius Havranek of Cork city’s Cornstore says. Ingredients added include raspberry liqueur and espresso, shaken with ice, double-strained and served in a coffee cup.
“This is a classic drink in its category. It’s well-known worldwide and its smooth flavour and creamy texture make it a perfect bridge between the coffee and black raspberry. It’s presence makes the cocktail smoother on the palate.”
Eimear Killian, general manager of Brasserie on the Corner in Galway explains how the restaurant is focused on creating an exceptional culinary experience for its customers and how they only create dishes using the best ingredients.
“From farm to fork, market to plate, vineyard to glass, every taste tells a story. Brasserie on the Corner is focused on creating an indulgent experience for its customers,” she says.
Brasserie on the Corner’s Cappuccini puts Baileys at the centre of its list of ingredients for its ability to marry itself with so many others. “It’s a great drink to use in cocktails as it provides such interesting flavours, it’s very mixable with a variety of ingredients and dominates the flavours without being over-powering in any way. It’s texture and colour also lends itself to enhancing many drinks.”
However it’s not just in cocktail glasses around the country that the drink is making waves, increasingly chefs are finding new ways to incorporate it onto their dessert plates too.
“It works so well as an ingredient due to its versatility,” Donal Cooper, owner and manager of Salt Bistro in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter says.
“Here in Salt Bistro it can be added to enhance the flavours of beverages as well as desserts with wonderful results.”
Cooper says that his team of experienced chefs, headed by his wife Teresa, are passionate about using only quality ingredients. So what do his customers think?
“Our Baileys Panna Cotta is a very popular choice for our customers throughout every season,” he says. “The liquor works well with this dish as it balances beautifully the creaminess of a panna cotta with the depth of flavour. It is the combination of velvety richness as well as lightness that makes it a hit with customers. We often serve with passion fruit and homemade shortbread crumb.”
If you don’t end up enjoying your Baileys with a fork, there are still plenty of other ways to enjoy it; over ice, in a coffee, or as part of a Martini.
Havranek says that Baileys’ versatility doesn’t end there; “It's a great dessert alternative, perfect for someone whose night is not finished with dinner. It works as a digestif but it also gives you that lift you need after a good meal.”
Evander Brennan, food and beverage manager at Hayfield Manor in Cork explains how they have gone one step further to show how the drink can not only work in desserts and drinks but also as a complement to savoury dishes, by adding a ‘Venison with coffee foam’ main course to the menu of their Orchids Restaurant.
“We chose to create the venison dish because at Hayfield Manor we are all about using seasonal ingredients that can be sourced locally. Venison is at its best this time of year and the flavour of Baileys really enhances the dish. The coffee foam works really well with the venison and the sweetness of the Baileys complements that bitterness giving a wonderfully balanced taste.”
Here is a selection of cocktail recipes to from around the country, to sample during festive season:
- 3.5cl Baileys
- 1.2cl Ameretto
- 2cl Kahlua
- 1 shot ristresso
- Fresh mint leaf
- 40ml Baileys
- 10ml Kahula
- 10ml Tia Maria
- 15ml Frangelico
- 30ml Fresh Cream
- Put all in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice
- Strain into a chilled Martini glass
- Garnish with some cocoa powder on top
- 20 ml Baileys
- 20 ml Kahlua
- 20 ml Disaronno
- 10 ml Chambord
- 1 shot of Espresso
Method: Pour all ingredients into shaker, shake with ice and double-strain into coffee cup
For more information, visit baileys.com