Irish Cream is the bomb-diggity.
Blame my sheltered alcoholic journey, but never have I ever encountered something so darn delicious in such a neat package. And to learn that it's excellent all on its own! And experience it first hand? While experimenting? Oh joyous evening!
For those unaware, Irish Cream is a liqueur of cream, cocoa, and Irish Whiskey. It is often enjoyed on its own over ice, or employed to augment your ice cream, coffee, hot chocolate, and various other sweet tooth things. However, it spirals far beyond this use; put it in some cola and be amazed. A little amaretto added in? Amazing!
The Mindflayer, via Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies (The Tavern)
This time around we put the lens back on a great YouTube channel led by a great DM. Most of his recipes I enjoy (though they can get pretty sweet), but this one I was concerned about. It just didn't look...right. Let's take a look.
"Eyeball" Recipe (meaning no exact measurements)
1 part Triple Sec
1 part Irish Cream
Splash of Grenadine
Splash of Black Sambuca
Directions: you pour about half a shot of Triple Sec, then carefully float Irish Cream on top to fill the rest. Splash of Grenadine, and a drop or two of Black Sambuca.
Drink it down shortly after - don't wait too long (I explain why below)
It might remind you of the classic Brain Hemorrhage shot, which is usually Peach Schnapps and Irish Cream, with a few drops of Grenadine (again, I'll explain).
I have a problem with this drink, and its fault lies in its chemistry. When the Grenadine hits the Irish Cream, there's a congealing reaction. Sure, it looks cool, but that brain-like blob is becoming a stringy solid. The longer you wait to drink it (and it ain't long), the more your gag reflex is going to register that something is wrong. Maybe I'm just odd, but I don't feel like chewing my shots.
How I'd fix it? ...Just don't use the Grenadine. You lose the "bloody" visual, but the Grenadine doesn't seem necessary in the first place - it sinks to the bottom and gets stuck there - and its flavor doesn't match the rest of the suite. My first go was interesting enough, but my second without the pomegranate syrup was infinitely better.
When you have something like the Brain Hemorrhage Shot, this "stringy" effect is intentional; it's not meant to feel right. And I think this variation on a theme has the same intention.
...I just don't like it.
The Dennisen (Den Variation)
In one of my Lore Drop posts, we wrote about an Illithid Corsair named Dennisen Thuul. A Mindflayer of sophistication and tactics, and, despite his nature to consume brain matter, an otherwise strict gentleman. Sure, Mindflayers are scary, but how interesting would it be to blend that terror with a measure of cool and calm? How do you make a drink unsettling but still...intoxicating?
Well, let's stick with Irish Cream for one.
Though we've already explored my distaste for the entire brand of mixology that pursues curdling creamy liqueurs on purpose, there are plenty of lovely pairings for Irish Cream. Ice cream, coffee, cocoa...these are delicious and obvious.
Coming from that vein, we'll find Frangelico (Hazelnut liqueur), Kahlua (coffee liqueur), and sometimes Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) as excellent pairings, though not always together. Vodka and Frangelico pops up here and there.
And then I found the Tequila.
I'm a fan of Gold Tequila, I'm finding, and though when this pops up in research, there are no other additions, so (when you're not following my brain path) try equal parts Irish Cream and Gold Tequila, then pour over ice.
I'm thinking that will be the "weird" that I'm craving. The rest should work well in tandem.
Does Frangelico go well with Tequila? Yes! That's the base for a "Nutty Tequila."
Grand Marnier definitely pairs well (because that's how Margaritas work).
Kahlua and Tequila? That's the "Brave Bull".
BUT. If I learned anything from mixing 5 rums together only to produce the blandest rubbing alcohol I've ever experienced...things that go well in pairs could be catastrophic in trios and quads. So we'll build it slowly.
2 oz Irish Cream + 1 oz Frangelico = is beautiful. No question. And it matches; OF COURSE these flavor palettes go well together.
2 oz Irish Cream + 1 oz Frangelico + 1 oz Kahlua = something still quite lovely. So far, we're still par for the course though. We're using creamy, nutty flavors built for each other. Next, we start to turn things sideways.
2 oz Irish Cream + 1 oz Frangelico + 1 oz Kahlua + 1/2 oz Grand Marnier = ...this is where the differences begin to show. A slight tang, like an orange dipped in chocolate ice cream. Just a tad strange, with a pleasant middle, and a whiskey finish. Stop here if you want the First Mate Version.
2 oz Irish Cream + 1 oz each of Frangelico and Kahlua + 1/2 oz each of Grand Marnier and Gold Tequila.
...My gods. The drink has fundamentally CHANGED.
Tequila in general is a powerful flavor, and I tested it with only the Irish Cream before trying this out, and the result was an assault of tequila. All mixed here, though, you NEED the Grand Marnier. All paired with the cocoa whiskey base, it smooths the weird sharpness of the tequila. I wanted unsettling, but good, and I think I got the right amount of weird.
If it's too weird for you, just don't add the tequila. No foul, First Mate.
Imbibe responsibly, and don't lose your brain.
Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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