Cream liqueurs are a wintertime favorite for good reason. They’re a little indulgent, work well in coffees and hot chocolate, and give you the same warm and fuzzy feeling as your favorite sweater.
While Baileys Irish Cream is arguably the most well-known in the realm of cream-based beverages (it is the original, after all), it’s not the only one worth drinking. In fact, a growing number of distilleries are dabbling in cream liqueurs and pushing the boundaries of the style. Some call upon nontraditional spirits, like rum, while others use unusual additions like saffron, peanut butter, and mango to put their own spin on the liqueur and create new flavor profiles.
While there’s nothing wrong with your beloved Baileys—it’s popular for a reason—here are six other options to help you spice up your bar cart.
The Best Cream Liqueurs (Besides Baileys)
1. Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur
This single-batch Irish cream from County Cork, Ireland has the Goldilocks factor. It’s not too viscous, not too syrupy, and not too sweet. It has a well-rounded flavor with notes of butterscotch, vanilla, stroopwafel, and honey-tinged whiskey, and it’s perfect for drinking all on its own. We’re also fans of the swing-top bottle—it looks just like an old-fashioned milk container.
2. Somrus Chai Cream Liqueur
Unlike other distilleries, Somrus uses rum rather than whiskey in its trio of cream liqueurs: coffee, mango, and chai. While each is good in its own right, we’re partial to the chai for its prominent pistachio, cardamom, and saffron flavors that pair beautifully with (and help neutralize the spice of) Indian and Caribbean dishes.
3. Bacardi Coquito
Coquito, which means “little coconut” in Spanish, is a boozy Christmas drink typically found in Puerto Rico. It’s similar to eggnog but generally not as thick. Bacardi’s version is a 13-percent ABV liqueur that combines the brand’s white rum with cinnamon, coconut cream, and vanilla.
4. Black Button Distilling Bespoke Bourbon Cream
If you drizzled bourbon over a butterscotch-infused crème brûlée, it would give you a pretty good idea of what Black Button Distilling’s Bespoke Bourbon Cream tastes like. It’s a delightfully smooth standalone sipper, but it also works well in dessert cocktails like a chocolate martini or a mudslide.
5. Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream
If you’re looking for liquid dessert, this is it. Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream from Pennington Distilling Company in Nashville, TN makes very sweet concoctions. Each of the four offerings—original, mocha, peanut butter chocolate, and pumpkin spice—is made from the brand’s whiskey base with cream and more than 30 flavors added in. We’d recommend using them in coffee or a dessert recipe like bread pudding.
6. Cutwater White Russian
While not strictly a cream-based spirit (it’s a ready-to-drink canned cocktail made with Cutwater vodka and coffee cream liqueur), this White Russian is worth a mention for the convenience it provides. Creamy with bold vanilla, espresso, and chocolate notes, it’s like a boozy malted milkshake, except you can grab it off a shelf at your local liquor store. You can sip it from the can, but we’d recommend pouring it over ice.
[$14, 4-pack; reservebar.com]
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