We’ve all got guilty pleasures, and one of ours is Irish cream. Bottled versions abound, but mixing up your own batch is a cinch, thanks to this recipe we adapted from D.C.-based bartending brothers Ari and Micah Wilder. “We’re big fans of Irish whiskey,” says Ari, “especially when it comes to spiking our coffee.” So the duo went about developing an Irish cream that works equally well in coffee and cocktails, and is just as good sipped solo. Combining Irish whiskey with rich cream, maple syrup, vanilla beans and cacao nibs, this is a spirited sipper you’ll want to indulge in all winter long.
In a small saucepan, combine 5 Tbsp. of granulated sugar, 1 oz. of water, and 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Melt 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 oz. of cacao nibs (about ¾ cup) and whisk for 1 minute.
Whisk the vanilla syrup (with vanilla beans) into the butter mixture.
Whisk in 1 oz. of grade B maple syrup and 2 cups of heavy cream and increase heat to medium-high. Whisk continuously, just until bubbles form. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, whisking frequently, until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Stir in ¼ tsp. of almond extract and 4 oz. of Irish whiskey.
Strain and funnel into a large glass jar and cover. Shake before using. Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.