Deep, dark and intense, Coffee Ice Cubes dropped into a glass of Baileys have become my new obsession. Not only is it mesmerising to watch them melt and spread their darkness across the glass, but they take the famous Irish cream liqueur to new heights. The icy infusion of the coffee cuts through the creaminess of the Baileys with a slightly bitter backdrop… the two flavours mingling together in combined perfection. If you thought Baileys couldn’t get better… think again!
In this post, I will share the secrets of making the best coffee ice cubes and also their converse cousin… the Baileys ice cube. But which is best?
The Coffee Ice Cube & Baileys Combo – My Heaven
Anyone who knows me, will know that Baileys has always been my favourite liqueur. So much so, that it has found its way into some of the most cherished recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist… From lusciously creamy simple No Churn Baileys Ice Cream and its fruity summer sister – Strawberry Baileys and Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream (no churn), to the winter-warming Boozy Baileys Real Hot Chocolate.
However, I am equally devoted to coffee. In my world, it isn’t just a morning ‘wake-me-up’, but an ingredient that adds intensity of flavour and aroma. Popular coffee recipes include my Coffee-Intense Mocha Roulade, the gorgeously moist Mocha Celebration Cake (with Mocha butter icing), Mocha-Pear Upside Down Cake and (of course) gluten free Coffee & Walnut Cake.
It seemed a logical step therefore, to combine the two… without doubt, a marriage from heaven.
coffee Ice Cubes – The Why & the How
So what’s the point of making coffee ice cubes when you could just add a bit of cold coffee to the glass?
Well… if you are a lover of Baileys (or any other Irish Cream Liqueur), you will know that it definitely tastes better served with ice. When the ice melts however, the watery alcohol-diluted cream that remains, is a sad slurp. Apart from the amazing depth of flavour that the coffee brings to the glass, using coffee-ice avoids the watering-down. The luscious richness remains right through to the last sip.
Whilst coffee ice cubes are basically just frozen black coffee, making them does need some degree of thought, particularly when it comes to intensity. If you love coffee, it’s easy… go strong!
If you don’t want to be awake all night, either weaken the blend a little, use de-caff, use less cubes or don’t drink too close to bedtime.
On the other hand, if you want to stay up all night and party, this may be the perfect tipple.
Role-Reversal – Baileys Ice Cubes
Dropping a couple of coffee ice cubes in a glass of Baileys makes for an amazing drink, but what about the other way round? How do you make Baileys ice cubes and how good are they in coffee?
Actually, making them is a little trickier than expected. It’s not a simple case of pouring Baileys into ice cube trays and throwing them in the freezer. They just don’t freeze! With a 17% by volume alcohol content, the freezing temperature is significantly lower. That’s great if you’re going for soft-scoop, but not if you want to achieve a Baileys ice cube that is usable.
I’ve tried various ratios, but the magic seems to start at 1 part Baileys to 2 parts milk. Why milk? Because it avoids the overtly ‘watered-down’ Baileys effect (as highlighted above). And, when added to cold black coffee (Cold Brew coffee is best), gives a sort of ‘off-piste’ take on the flavours of cold Irish Coffee. You may just want to add a little extra sugar for sweetness.
Alternatively, if black coffee tastes a little harsh, add your cubes to a cold milky coffee instead, to make a Baileys Iced Coffee.
What else can I do with Coffee & Baileys Ice Cubes?
If coffee isn’t your thing, you could drop a couple of Baileys ice cubes straight into a glass of neat Baileys. It’s not as random as it sounds. Not only will it keep the liqueur cold, but you’ll get no dilution at all!
Alternatively, just eat Baileys ice cubes straight… No glass needed! Keep them in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy an occasional creamy alcoholic mini-mouthful ‘ice-pop’ as you pass by (simple rules : don’t tell the kids and avoid breakfast!).
And coffee ice cubes? I reckon these babies would crush just perfectly. I don’t know about you, but I think it may just be time to re-invent the White Russian…
So which is best? Well… that will be for you to decide. My personal preference however is the Coffee Ice Cube. Somehow, it looks nicer and more hypnotic as it melts into Baileys and for me, the sheer delight it adds to the glass makes it my hands down favourite.
Coffee Ice Cubes
- glass/plastic measuring jug
- spoon to stir
- ice cube tray
- 300 ml boiling water
- 3 to 4 tsp instant espresso coffee Use less if this is too intense or use instant decaffeinated coffee
- 1 tbsp sugar caster/granulated/soft brown (optional)
- Add the boiling water to the coffee and sugar (if using) in the jug and stir until dissolved.
- Set aside and leave to go cold.
- Re-stir the cold coffee and carefully pour into the ice cube tray.
- Place in the freezer and leave until completely frozen.
Baileys Ice Cubes
- glass/plastic measuring jug
- ice cube tray
- 100 ml Baileys liqueur or other Irish cream liqueur
- 200 ml cold milk whole or semi-skimmed
- Measure the Baileys (Irish cream liqueur) and milk into a jug and stir thoroughly.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the ice cube trays.
- Freeze for a minimum of 6 hours or until completely frozen.