Did anyone else know that two of the things that give Irish cream its distinctive taste are cocoa and coffee? I didn't. I never really knew exactly what Irish cream was until I decided to try to veganize it and started doing my research. It makes sense now why it's so good! Anything with chocolate, coffee, and whiskey... Well, you just can't go wrong!
My plan of attack for the veganization of Irish cream was inspired by this vegan egg nog recipe I tried last Christmas. This egg nog was my first experience with dates, and I'm now completely sold. Dates are fantastic!
The flavor of this Irish cream is spot on. While coconut milk was definitely a candidate in terms of texture, I really did not want even a hint of coconut flavor, so I stuck with cashews for texture, dates and agave for sweetness, and of course whiskey, cocoa, and instant espresso. The result is SUPER rich and creamy, so you might want to water it down with a little extra whiskey or non-dairy milk.
In the process of recipe testing this last week, I would have a little taste here and a little taste there. And before I knew it, I had made it through 1/3 of our bottle of Irish whiskey. I didn't realize this until my shocked husband asked where the Irish whiskey had gone....
The recipe is super easy. Just put everything in a blender and voom. You've got Irish cream! If you really want it like right. Now. And don't have time to soak the cashews, you can always just boil them and strain them. I won't tell anyone.
Homemade Vegan Irish Cream
Makes: 5 cups
Time: 10 minutes
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours and strained
1/2 cup pitted dates
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 cup Irish whiskey
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/4 cup agave syrup
Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend on high until completely smooth. Depending on the strength of your blender this could take several minutes.
Once blended, serve over ice or refrigerate until cooled. After refrigerating, you may find that the Irish cream has thickened significantly, and you may choose to add up to one cup non-dairy milk to achieve your desired consistency (I really liked the melted milk shake consistency, but can imagine some would prefer a thinner drink).
Keep refrigerated. I'm not entirely sure what the shelf life is because, lets be honest, it hasn't lasted long enough to tell. :)