Home » Cocktails » How to Drink Baileys Irish Cream {Cocktails and More}

How to Drink Baileys Irish Cream {Cocktails and More}


If you’ve always wondered how to drink Baileys, I’m here to help! It’s creamy and delicious and there are multiple ways to enjoy it. Straight over ice, splashed into hot chocolate or in an easy creamy Baileys cocktail recipe, you’re going to crave it all year long (not just on St. Patrick’s Day).

A tray on a table with a vase of flowers and a bottle of Irish Cream next to a cup of coffee and a cocktail glass.
Let’s explore how to drink Baileys.

Why you need a bottle of Baileys

There isn’t just one way for how to drink Baileys Irish Cream. From classic cocktails to unique drink ideas, the possibilities are many

My mother-in-law, who loves a sweet treat (a sweet tooth is something we share), loves to sip on this creamy liqueur during the holiday season. It took me a while before I actually tried it for myself but I’m so glad I finally did.

It’s flavorful and delicious and can be used a lot like Kahlua coffee liqueur. But it’s so much creamier and decadent. It makes for some really delicious recipes not just cocktails

Related: Baileys Christmas Cocktails

Baileys is not just your ordinary liqueur; it’s a delightful combination of Irish whiskey, cream, and a touch of chocolate. With its rich and creamy texture, it is unique and unlike lots of other cocktail ingredients.

But what truly amazes me is the incredible range of ways to enjoy Baileys. A bottle of Baileys Irish Cream will last for a while since a little goes a long way and you can really get a lot of use out of that one bottle.

While I don’t always buy specialty bottles of booze for my home bar, there are so many ways to serve Baileys that I can say without a doubt, you should absolutely buy a bottle if you have room for it.

It’s fun to serve to wrap up a party, makes a great hostess gift and of course, makes outstanding Irish Cream cocktails. 

Everything to Know About Baileys

A bottle of Baileys Irish Cream on a table next to a vase of flowers.
There are so many ways to serve Baileys Irish Cream.

Before we jump into all the Irish Cream drinks you can make with Baileys, let’s talk a bit more about what it is. Baileys is a smooth and luxurious liqueur that is made from Irish whiskey and fresh cream. It has a touch of chocolate flavor that makes it a great addition to a dessert cocktail. 

The alcohol content in Baileys is around 17% ABV (alcohol by volume). When you compare it to something like vodka, which usually ranges between 35-40% ABV, you can see that Baileys has less of an alcoholic punch.

This makes it great for sipping when you just want a little nightcap or if you aren’t a big drinker. The alcohol flavor is also much smoother without the burn that you get from a lot of other spirits.

Because it’s so creamy, rich and sweet, it makes you sip slower. It’s absolute perfection to sip on a cold winter night cuddled up on the couch. 

Not only do they have the original flavor but they also offer a few other flavor varieties, like Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream and Red Velvet. An almond milk dairy-free alternative is also offered which is so great! If you’re worried about calories, they have a lighter version that has about 40% less calories and sugar.

Ways to Serve Baileys

Baileys original Irish Cream can be enjoyed in a bunch of ways. Whether you prefer a simple, straightforward sip or creative cocktails, Baileys has you covered.

Sip it Straight Over Ice

A glass on a wooden tray with a large ice cube and Baileys Irish Cream next to a bottle of Baileys.

I think the best way to enjoy Baileys is to sip it straight over ice. The combination of the cold ice melting into the creamy liqueur results in a smooth delicious drink.

The ice also helps to slightly dilute the intensity of the alcohol, making Baileys on ice even more enjoyable for beginners. 

Take small sips and allow the flavors of the creamy drink to coat your mouth. Even on its own, Baileys feels absolutely indulgent.

To Serve: Add 2-3 ounces of Baileys to a rocks glass with ice. I like to use one large ice cube so the ice melts slower, but you can use several smaller ice cubes if you prefer. 

Mix it with Cream

Many people (like my mom-in-law) like to make Baileys and Cream where you mix it with heavy cream. It’s an even creamier and richer option that doesn’t even need a cocktail shaker

To serve: Mix one-part Baileys with two parts cream. Stir gently to combine, and feel free to adjust the measurements based on your personal taste preferences.

Add it to Coffee

Baileys in coffee is a great cocktail idea on a cool winter night.

To Serve: Add an ounce or two of Baileys to hot coffee or espresso. Adjust the sweetness and creaminess to your liking. You can even top it with some whipped cream to make this Irish Coffee feel even more special. 

Or! Turn it into an affogato and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So yum. This is probably my favorite way to enjoy it. I’ve never met an affogato that I didn’t LOVE. This is a great idea when you have company over. It’s so simple but such a crowd-pleaser. 

To Serve: Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a large coffee mug. Then add hot coffee and 1-2 ounces of Baileys. The ice cream melts and the whole drink gets even creamier.

Similarly, you can add Baileys to a mug of hot cocoa if you aren’t a coffee drinker. 

Use In Desserts

Baileys and vanilla ice cream is so dang good. The creamy sweetness of ice cream combined with the luxurious flavors of Baileys create an extraordinary dessert experience. This is a great after-dinner dessert to serve when you are entertaining. 

To Serve: Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream into a small bowl or mug. Drizzle an ounce or so of Baileys on top for a delicious boozy treat.

You don’t need to stick to just vanilla ice cream. You can choose your favorite ice cream flavor because chocolate, cookie dough, mint chip and the like will all work really well.

Add your favorite toppings like chocolate sauce, caramel syrup, crushed cookies or chocolate shavings for an extra layer of indulgence. The sweet flavors go really well together. 

You can also drizzle it over other desserts. How good would creamy Baileys be over cheesecakes, brownies, or chocolate mousse? You can even drizzle it over pancakes, we did this once for Mother’s Day. Holy moly, this was good. 

Or turn it into a boozy milkshake by tossing the ice cream and Baileys into a blender! A little swirl of chocolate syrup on top would be the perfect finishing touch. 

I love homemade whipped cream and you can infuse your recipe with Baileys to make a fun Irish Cream flavored topping.

To Make Baileys Infused Whipped Cream: Add the 1 cup heavy whipping cream to a chilled bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium until it starts to stiffen. Add 2 TBSP of powdered sugar and continue beating to the desired consistency. Gently fold in 2 TBSP of Baileys. Adjust the taste as needed.

You know I love boozy desserts and you can infuse Buttercream with Baileys also. 

Using it in Cocktails

A vases of flowers on a wooden tray with someone pouring Baileys out of the bottle over a large ice cube in a glass.


Using Baileys in a shot is a great idea. It’s so smooth and much easier to enjoy than straight liquor that sometimes makes your throat feel like its on fire. You can layer it with other liquor in a shot glass to make it more interesting. Even if you aren’t a shot-type person, you would probably enjoy one made with Baileys.

Glass Rinse

When I’m making drinks at home, sometimes I like to rinse a glass with something before actually serving it. Just swirl 1/2 ounce Baileys around in a martini glass before adding the cocktail, like a chocolate martini, to give it just a hint of that Baileys magic. You don’t need any special bartending skills to do this but it seems elevated. 


A Baileys float on top of cocktails adds a perfect finishing touch. Just assemble your cocktail as usual. Once your cocktail is prepared and in the glass use the back of a spoon and carefully pour Baileys Irish Cream over it onto the surface of the drink.

This helps the Baileys float stay on top of the cocktail instead of mixing in. It looks cool and adds extra flavor to each sip.

Baileys cocktail ideas

A bottle of reposado tequila on a tray with a bottle of Baileys in the background and a cocktail glass on a tray.

Baileys really sings when used in cocktails, and the best Baileys cocktails are velvety and delicious. 

When using Baileys in cocktails, consider its creamy texture and sweetness and adjust other ingredients accordingly. Shake or stir the cocktail ingredients together with ice, then strain into a glass. Get creative with garnishes like grated chocolate, cinnamon, or whipped cream to enhance the presentation.

1. Baileys White Russian: A twist on the classic White Russian cocktail, I think the Baileys version is even more flavorful. To make it, simply fill a rocks or short cocktail glass with ice and pour in 1 oz Baileys Irish Cream, 1 oz vodka, and 1 oz coffee liqueur (like Kahlua). Stir gently to combine the ingredients, and if desired, top with whipped cream for an extra touch of sweetness. Sip and enjoy! You could even try this with vanilla vodka to make it even more dessert-like. 

2. Baileys Espresso Martini: Rich coffee and Baileys makes a delicious Espresso Martini. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 1 oz Baileys Irish Cream, 1 oz vodka, 1 oz freshly brewed and cooled espresso, and 0.5 oz coffee liqueur. Shake well until chilled, then strain the mixture into a martini glass.

An espresso martini is so popular right now. You can jazz this up however you like. I like to use tequila instead of vodka. And cold-brew works great as an alternative to espresso.

3. Baileys Mudslide: A Baileys Mudslide is a creamier version of the Baileys White Russian. Fill a rocks glass with ice and pour in 1 oz Baileys Irish Cream, 1 oz vodka, 1 oz coffee liqueur, and 1 oz cream or milk. Stir gently to combine the flavors, creating a decadent sip reminiscent of a dessert. You’ll probably only drink one of these because they are so rich.

4. Baileys Spiced Chai: Warm up with the cozy blend of Baileys and aromatic chai spices in the Baileys Spiced Chai cocktail. In a mug, combine 1.5 oz Baileys Irish Cream with 3 oz brewed and cooled chai tea. Stir well to mix the flavors. You can top it with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you want.

5. Baileys Martini: A Baileys Martini is a luxurious alcoholic beverage that is so simple to make. Fill a mixing glass with 2 oz of Baileys Irish Cream and 1 oz of vodka. Gently stir using a cocktail spoon for about 20-30 seconds. Strain from the mixing glass into a chilled martini glass. You can garnish it with chocolate shavings or a light dusting of cocoa powder on top. 

There are tons more Baileys cocktails to make but these are simple and show you just how versatile it can be as an ingredient. 

In other recipes

Like Kahlua, you can use Baileys in other recipes, not just cocktails. I use it in White Russian Cupcakes and it gives them such an amazing flavor!

You can stir Baileys into oatmeal for a decadent upgrade.

Create a fast dessert by using Irish Cream and soaking fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in it for a little while.

You can infuse brownies with it. You can use it in a creamy and delicious Bread Pudding.

Have you ever tried Baileys fudge? It’s so great at the holidays.

I’ve even seen it used in a Creamy Mushroom Pasta recipe. You will always be able to find new ways to enjoy Baileys.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you refrigerate Baileys?

Yes and no. As long as you store the bottle out of direct sunlight and below around 77 degrees F, the consistency should be fine. But Baileys does go bad. To ensure it stays the freshest the longest, you can refrigerate Baileys. It’s also delicious served chilled so it makes sense to keep it in there if you enjoy drinking it regularly. 

How long does Baileys last once opened?

Once opened, Baileys can last for up to two years. However, for the best taste and quality, it is recommended to consume it within six months. Remember to check the label or packaging for specific instructions regarding shelf life.

Is Baileys good for beginners?

Yes, Baileys is good for beginners. The creamy, sweet flavors and smooth taste help to balance the alcohol content. It’s not at all like other liquors that have that burn on the back of your throat. it’s very enjoyable to people who aren’t big fans of other alcohol. 

How much alcohol is in Baileys compared to vodka?

Baileys contains around 17% alcohol by volume (ABV), while the alcohol content in vodka ranges from 35% to 40% ABV. The lower alcohol content makes it a great way to end a night. Plus because of the rich and creamy sweetness, you don’t often drink as much of it, straight on in cocktails, as you would with something like vodka. 

What is the main alcohol in Baileys?

The main alcohol in Baileys is Irish whiskey which gives it hints of warmth and subtle spice. It blends really well with the creaminess of Baileys Irish Cream.

Now that you know how to drink Baileys you can enjoy it with friends at a special gathering or sip it while indulging in a cozy night at home. Baileys is always a great idea.

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