"We'll call it, 'The Bloody Awful'"
October 11, 2017 11:17 AM   Subscribe

"We bought a small bottle of Jamesons Irish Whiskey and a tub of single cream and hurried back. It was a lovely May morning. 1973. Underdogs Sunderland had just won the FA Cup. We mixed the two ingredients in our kitchen, tasted the result and it was certainly intriguing, but in reality bloody awful. Undaunted, we threw in some sugar and it got better, but it still missed something."
In 1973, I invented a ‘girly drink’ called Baileys (David Gluckman for The Irish Times)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (59 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
How fitting that my favourite drink, Bailey's, or as I call it, "that divine dessert in a glass", was invented the year I was born.
posted by orange swan at 11:22 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


The invention of that classic bar gag, the "cement mixer", was a fun bit of the story.

(So, the thing is that the acid in citrus will cause cream to curdle, hence why adding Bailey's to lemonade doesn't work. A prank one can do to a drinker at a bar is to have them take a shot of Bailey's, then some lemon juice. The result is that the shot congeals in the victim's mouth, much like cement in a mixer.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:36 AM on October 11 [3 favorites]


It is totally worth it to make it yourself at home from one of the recipes online. It's a whole lot tastier DIY; the only drawback is that it has to be refrigerated which is a reasonable tradeoff.
posted by peeedro at 11:42 AM on October 11 [4 favorites]


You ever drunk Bailey's from a shoe?
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 12:01 PM on October 11 [29 favorites]


Mrs. Bastard and I like the various cheaper knockoffs about as much as we like the original. We've been getting a brand called Blarneys lately.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:10 PM on October 11 [7 favorites]


Have you ever spilled Drambuie or Baileys or Kahlua? They're like maple syrup sugary sweet. So is tonic water.
posted by Bee'sWing at 12:36 PM on October 11


It is totally worth it to make it yourself at home from one of the recipes online.

I'd have assumed it was rather like making a white russian. Of course there's people who try and homemake their own kalhua.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on October 11


Mrs. Bastard and I like the various cheaper knockoffs about as much as we like the original. We've been getting a brand called Blarneys lately.

We get one called Carolan's. I've never done a side by side taste comparison, but it tastes fine to us (we only ever put it in coffee) and it's a lot cheaper. Bailey's is $$$$.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 12:52 PM on October 11 [4 favorites]


Don't forget the Costco version from the Land O' Kirk.
posted by lagomorphius at 1:09 PM on October 11 [6 favorites]


I’ve been know to buy Carolan’s as well, although as long as a bottle lasts around my house the price difference isn’t a big deal. I had no idea Baileys was 10 years younger than I am!

Now off to read an article linked in the Bailey’s piece:
Why Guinness Light failed in 1979. An insider’s confession. I have a pretty good idea why and want to see if it matches up with what the insider says.
posted by TedW at 1:14 PM on October 11


I like that the "market research" revealed it as a likely failure except for the two cops who drank a bottle over lunch and they said, right then, it's a winner.

Can't remember the last time I had Bailey's, but I did buy a small bottle last Christmas for a party, which somebody took home when I told them we'd never drink the remainder. If I'm doctoring my coffee it's usually Sambuca, and if I need a digestif, it's probably Strega.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:15 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


The Guinness Light article I linked above was worth a read. It is from the same book (which I may now have to buy) and from it I learned that the widget was preceded by the plunger. Also, in contrast to Bailey’s, they did a fair amount of market research on Guinness Light that was strongly positive, but it was a failure anyway.
posted by TedW at 1:27 PM on October 11


This is where I confess that despite my years of bartending and my taste for fancy cocktails, I have a secret weakness for the decidedly low-brow Buttery Nipple.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:35 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Here is a no stir chocolate ice cream using Bailey and a banana. It works a treat. recipe
posted by jadepearl at 2:25 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


Hugh Reade Seymour-Davies was a toff.

You don't say.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:27 PM on October 11 [23 favorites]


I did a sort of side-by-side taste comparison of Carolan's and Baileys (Baileys bottle almost finished, opened new bottle of Carolan's), and while they do taste a little different than each other, neither is noticeably better. If pressed to identify the difference, I think Baileys might have a slightly more pronounced coffee note.

Anyway, dessert in a glass is right. I drink it either with hot chocolate when it's cold out, or on its own, which makes for a pretty effective replacement for post-dinner ice cream. Dammit, now I really want some Irish cream liqueur.
posted by yasaman at 2:36 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


I have a secret weakness for the decidedly low-brow Buttery Nipple.

I've always called it a Slippery Nipple, but yeah, tasty.
posted by Splunge at 2:41 PM on October 11


I remember there being an Australian one named something cringeworthily stereotypical like Father O'Flanagan's about 15-20 years ago; it came in three flavours (plain, chocolate and coffee, or similar) and wasn't too bad.
posted by acb at 2:44 PM on October 11


Essentially a Brandy Alexander substituting (the far less tasty) Irish whiskey and some sort of food chemist alchemy to keep the cream from going off. Poured vats of the stuff from behind the bar but, after a first exploratory sip, avoided it like the plague...
posted by jim in austin at 2:50 PM on October 11 [4 favorites]


I've always called it a Slippery Nipple

As always, drink recipes are decidedly not standardized, but in my neck of the woods they were always held to be two different drinks, hinging on whether you used Sambuca or Butterscotch schnapps. It appears even the Wiki is confused on the matter, since Buttery Nipple redirects to Slippery Nipple, and both recipes are jumbled together on the page without real differentiation.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 3:06 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Here's a recipe that never fails:

1 large bottle of Bailey's
1 carton of chocolate ice cream
a couple of bananas

Dump all ingredients into a big-ass food processor and blend until smooth. Decant into a glass if you're feeling hoity-toity or if there are other people around and it would be unseemly to drink straight from the bowl. Serves 1.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:26 PM on October 11 [32 favorites]


I have a soft spot for this stuff. Also, my mom, basically a nondrinker, has, for some reason, decided that this is her festive brew and must be had at family holiday occasions.
posted by praemunire at 3:28 PM on October 11 [4 favorites]


(This has led to my siblings and I trawling through extremely grim Detroit liquor stores on the holidays, dodging the hard-core winos, looking for a bottle.)
posted by praemunire at 3:28 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]


Ben's guide to when it's okay to cheap out on liqueur: If it doesn't say McCormack's on the bottle, you're fine. Grand Gala for Grand Marnier, St. Elder for St. Germin, Amarula for Kahlua, Carolan's for Bailey's. All good. If your freinds judge you, judge them right back. Anything McCormack's or distilled by them though, that stuff is vile, avoid like the plague.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 4:07 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]


Amarula for Kahlua

I’m confused; one is a fruit liqueur, the other is coffee.
posted by BlueDuke at 5:01 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]




I’m confused; one is a fruit liqueur, the other is coffee.


You are correct, these unseasonably warm October days have melted the liqueur part of my brain. Was thinking of Kamora. My bad.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:58 PM on October 11 [2 favorites]


It is totally worth it to make it yourself at home from one of the recipes online. It's a whole lot tastier DIY; the only drawback is that it has to be refrigerated which is a reasonable tradeoff.

OH MY GOD WHY DID I NOT REALIZE THAT THIS IS A POSSIBILITY SEE YOU ALL LATER.
posted by orange swan at 6:05 PM on October 11 [10 favorites]


Amarula is delicious !! A friend from South Africa brought a bottle to our university. I was quite surprised by the warning on the back of the bottle: "Don't drink and walk on the road - you may be killed"
posted by seawallrunner at 6:07 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


oh my god, the focus group woman who said it tasted like kaolin & morphine

normally I don't mess around with diluted and flavored liquors or liqueurs but please put morphine into Baileys and I will put the morphine Baileys into my coffee. you can remove the cinnamon baileys to free up some shelf space for the morphine baileys. I can make a diagram or a flow chart if anybody at diageo needs a visual aid to convince them
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:12 PM on October 11 [14 favorites]


Wait are we talking like morphine in the morphine or is it a weird old-timey brand name thing, like Coca-Cola?
posted by Artw at 6:40 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]


no, ireland and possibly also the united kingdom are real enchanted isles where you can go buy a bottle of morphine syrup over the counter. or were in the old-timey days of the 1970s, I don't know if those days are over now.

they fucked it up by putting other junk in it and putting a picture of a man's sad upset stomach on the label so you cannot feel romantical while drinking it. but change out the kaolin for baileys and up the morphine percentage and you got a fine patent medicine.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:12 PM on October 11 [6 favorites]


oh also among the inactive ingredients are/were "Treacle black commercial," and a lot of licorice. more licorice than almost anything else. plus chloroform according to one medical abstract but that can't be right, you don't need chloroform in your bottle of drugs if you have enough treacle.

the main thing to know about it aside from that it does exist is that it doesn't actually work for the thing it's sold for

and reading the ingredient list does make me hungry for baileys.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:28 PM on October 11


1. My wife named our dog for it, even though she's never even tasted the stuff. It just seemed appropriate.

b) Kudos to the original author for the Tom Wolfe shout-out.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:54 PM on October 11


Re: Kaolin & Morphine
posted by fullerine at 11:36 PM on October 11




I love this story - and particularly Gluckman's concocted back story for the drink: the rural sounding address and the tale of the 2 feuding brothers "R" and "A" with backgrounds in diary farming and distilling - who managed to find common ground through their new concoction.
posted by rongorongo at 12:18 AM on October 12


Really enjoyed this story. Last Christmas, I made Smitten Kitchen's homemade Irish Cream, which also has condensed milk in it and vanilla extract.

I used it to make "Bailey's" Flat White Martinis. It was a very good time.
posted by featherboa at 1:01 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Kaolin and Morphine sound like a mismatched pair of superheroes: she's a spunky teen who basically just kicks thing, he's a moody god of sleep, skirting round the edges of whatever copyright infringements Neil Gaiman and DC will indulge.
posted by Grangousier at 1:49 AM on October 12 [8 favorites]


Came in for some Old Greg and wasn’t disappointed.
posted by emelenjr at 2:49 AM on October 12


"I remember there being an Australian one named something cringeworthily stereotypical like Father O'Flanagan's... "

Would that have been Father O'Leary's Velvet Cream? (Still only AUD$13.99 for 750ml at Dan Murphy's...)
posted by a very present absence at 3:17 AM on October 12


Yeah, I was just coming to also comment that it’s Father O’Leary’s. And also tell a Baileys story:
My older sister loves a glass of Baileys on occasion. Back when I was a wee lad our old tom at the time, Coogee, used to climb her arm and lap the Baileys out of the fancy little glass as quick as a flash. She’d let him finish the glass - else she’s cop a swipe with claws out - and he’d totter off a bit wobbly and have a sleep in the hall, snoring loudly
posted by matrixgeek at 3:57 AM on October 12 [5 favorites]


I do wonder about what alcohol goes into Baileys. The company goes hard on the 'Irish whiskey' side of things without saying which or how much - and that's understandable, as distillers are notoriously tight-lipped about what of their output is used for blended drinks. But I was assured some time ago that Baileys uses potato spirit, and looking at their web site it does indeed say "BAILEYS IS A PERFECT MARRIAGE OF FRESH, PREMIUM QUALITY IRISH DAIRY CREAM, FINEST SPIRITS, IRISH WHISKEY AND A PROPRIETARY RECIPE OF CHOCOLATE FLAVORS." - where 'finest spirits' is separate from the whiskey.

So I guess most of the actual booze in Baileys is actually poitin.
posted by Devonian at 4:45 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


In 2003 Diagio launched a smaller-bottle version of Baileys, Baileys Glide, with less alcohol and more vanilla than the original. It was touted as Baileys but easier to drink, and easier to sell in pubs. It was not a success.
posted by Hogshead at 5:51 AM on October 12


It's pretty hard to get outside of Kentucky (or maybe adjacent states?), but it is very important for me to spread the good word of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream, which is obviously made with bourbon instead of whiskey, and is DIVINE. When friends come east, I sometimes beg them to pick me up a bottle or two.

(Has to be refrigerated after being opened because it is made with real cream, but it lasts for like six weeks and is amazing.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:44 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


In 2003 Diagio launched a smaller-bottle version of Baileys, Baileys Glide

It sounds like a, uh, personal lubricant. Wouldn't want to drink that.
posted by Dysk at 7:12 AM on October 12 [3 favorites]


"BAILEYS IS A PERFECT MARRIAGE OF FRESH, PREMIUM QUALITY IRISH DAIRY CREAM, FINEST SPIRITS, IRISH WHISKEY AND A PROPRIETARY RECIPE OF CHOCOLATE FLAVORS."
That's really more an orgy than a marriage, Diageo.

Something that is interesting about Baileys is that - so far as I can work out - the tradition of both diary and whisky/whiskey production seems to have continued for a great many years without anybody coming up with the idea of marrying them together. The cream in Bailey's is preserved by the alcohol - the manufacturers claim that you can still consume it for up to 2 years after manufacture - even if left unrefrigerated and in an open bottle. That would have been a neat trick to pull off in bygone days.
posted by rongorongo at 7:17 AM on October 12 [4 favorites]


That was a really fun read. I was kind of surprised: I think I of myself as the most cynical of consumers, but I would not have guessed that Every Single Aspect of Bailey's is completely made up... in the 70s: The concept of blending milk and whiskey, the recipe, the name, everything, by a couple of advertising guys. I mean, now that I read it, of course that's true, but I was still surprised.
posted by latkes at 8:12 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


It's pretty hard to get outside of Kentucky (or maybe adjacent states?), but it is very important for me to spread the good word of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream, which is obviously made with bourbon instead of whiskey, and is DIVINE. When friends come east, I sometimes beg them to pick me up a bottle or two.

(Has to be refrigerated after being opened because it is made with real cream, but it lasts for like six weeks and is amazing.)


I happen to be going to Kentucky for Thanksgiving and I am going to block out an entire day of the trip just to get over the hangover I'll have from drinking this. Thanks?
posted by padraigin at 8:41 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


To expand on the cream liqueur conversation, there’s one called Fulton’s Harvest that has a pumpkin pie liqueur and an apple pie liqueur. I haven’t had the apple, but the pumpkin one does taste exactly like pumpkin pie in a glass.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:49 AM on October 12


I am going to block out an entire day of the trip just to get over the hangover I'll have from drinking this.

MIX IT WITH FANCY ROOT BEER
THAT'S ONE WAY THEY SERVE IT AT THE DISTILLERY AND IT IS LIFE CHANGING
(also ps you can tour the Buffalo Trace distillery and they give you lots of free samples, FYI)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:50 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


the technical group in the Gilbeys building that housed their factory offices, distillery, research laboratories and warehouse in Harlow, Essex
Oh, that's a nostalgia rush: when I was a kid we lived near this, which was actually very close to the town centre. The distillery was amazing: a huge brutal glass-fronted building spotlighting the stills. RIBA has some more photographs; I used to bike to school on that cycle track. Demolished to make way for a supermarket in 1993; its architect Peter Falconer "was quite unconcerned, believing that the proper life for an industrial building was 30 years."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:18 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


Mixing milk or cream with whiskey is old as the hills, at least in Ireland. My source is the memoirs of Peig Sayers, where she frequently describes the women in her village indulging in it. 'Peig' was a staple of Irish language education for many years and the original Irish misery memoir. Its catalogue of misfortunes and premature death makes Angela's Ashes seem as chirpy as a PG Wodehouse novel by comparison.
posted by Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez at 3:44 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


Just in case you're vegan or dairy free, I can say the Bailey's Almande is actually not bad. A little lighter, not so creamy, so I quite like it for summer drinks too.

Because: Bailey's Milk Punch. (Where my NOLA folks at!?)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 4:18 PM on October 12


That's really more an orgy than a marriage, Diageo.

Poly is as poly does.

Something that is interesting about Baileys is that - so far as I can work out - the tradition of both diary and whisky/whiskey production seems to have continued for a great many years without anybody coming up with the idea of marrying them together. The cream in Bailey's is preserved by the alcohol - the manufacturers claim that you can still consume it for up to 2 years after manufacture - even if left unrefrigerated and in an open bottle. That would have been a neat trick to pull off in bygone days.

The OP (and other stuff I read off the back of it) says that it took a while for the food scientists to get the product stable, so I suspect it's not just a matter of sloshing the ingredients around in a pail. Also, distillation as we know it is a relatively recent invention, only really kicking off in Europe in the 15th century with recognisable spirits like gin becoming commercialised 200 years later. Keeping milk fresh when you've got the cows to hand isn't such a thing, and making cheese is probably better at keeping it useful over time. And would it really be a good use of alcohol before industrial distillation? I know that if I had a cow and a still, I'd not mix my drinks...

But a good question, and I think a 'Why didn't the ancients have Baileys?' documentary would be a very interesting thing to watch. Much like 'Why didn't the Romans have hot air balloons?'
posted by Devonian at 5:15 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


a fiendish thingy: "but it lasts for like six weeks"

well maybe in your house
posted by chavenet at 7:10 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Man, nothing reminds you you're on vacation like a major quantity of Bailey's in your morning coffee. Also, if you're on a part of the plane where liquor is free, and it's morning, and you order coffee and Bailey's, your neighbors will look at you like you're a goddamn wizard, Harry.

Carolans does not taste right to me but St Brendan's sure does and it's half the price.
posted by ftm at 7:22 PM on October 13


Long ago my mom got remarried on a boat in the Potomac River. In winter.

Because the wedding was on a boat my brother and I were obliged to wear light blue Oxford button-downs and khakis (both polyester) and boat shoes. And we didn't like the new husband very much.

So we turned to the warming comfort of Grand Marnier. A lot. By the martini glass.

Drink, mingle, drink, drink, mingle, drink... was a our pattern. Until we got back to the bar and asked for two more Grand Marniers. They were out.

We drank all the Grand Marnier on the boat.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:26 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


The OP (and other stuff I read off the back of it) says that it took a while for the food scientists to get the product stable, so I suspect it's not just a matter of sloshing the ingredients around in a pail.
At this stage, purely in the interests of accuracy you understand, I could go and slosh some ingredients around in a pail to see how easy it was and how long it keeps. Or I could search Youtube and find that Loretta has already been there - note how she points out that her recipe is (for Australians at least) quite a lot less expensive than the real thing - and that it keeps in the fridge for "up to 2 months". So my guess is that there is nothing too tricky going on here.

For those who don't come from Ireland or Scotland, it is difficult to appreciate just how widely a dram of whisk(e)y was applied to solve everyday problems: porridge tasking a bit bland? new puppy crying at night? trying not to catch a cold? stressful flight across the Atlantic on a blustery day coming up? baby has croup?
- so the idea of mixing it with cream must have been around for a while by any law of probability (hell - they probably fed it to the calves like that sometimes). But it took the liqueur craze of the 1970s to popularise the concept.
posted by rongorongo at 6:48 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


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