What Does Irish Cream Taste Like?

Traditionally, Irish cream is a cream liqueur, meaning it is made with dairy. However, more recently, you can enjoy Irish cream flavored beverages that do not contain any alcohol. 

Irish cream is sweet and milky. It’s heavy on vanilla and has hints of chocolate and nuttiness as well. Since it’s made with dairy, it’s generally thick, creamy, and rich.

Predominantly, Irish cream is made from Irish whiskey, cream, and other flavors, often vanilla and chocolate.

How to Drink Irish Cream

Irish cream is a popular addition to drinks. It’s also common to be consumed in both hot and cold beverages.

Let’s talk about some of the common ways to drink it and see how each varies in taste and, perhaps, consistency.

Irish Cream Alone

Unlike some alcoholic beverages, Irish Cream is often consumed on its own, over ice. This is a common way to drink it, even with people who are not drinkers.

Irish cream is made with dairy. Therefore, it doesn’t typically have that harsh bite other types of alcohol tend to produce when drunk straight.

Drinking Irish cream over ice tastes sweet and creamy. It also has a bit of vanilla flavor. It’s somewhat reminiscent of coffee creamer.

In Coffee

Traditionally, Irish Coffee has consisted of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream. 

That said, people commonly use the term Irish Coffee to mean coffee that has a shot of alcohol. So, while not technically Irish Coffee, putting Irish cream in a cup of coffee is fairly popular.

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It functions somewhat like a coffee creamer. It helps to both sweeten your coffee and make it creamier. 


A Mudslide is a popular after-dinner drink that is essentially an alcoholic milkshake. 

Made with Irish cream, coffee liqueur, vodka, heavy cream, and usually some chocolate, a Mudslide is sweet, creamy, and rich. It should have the consistency of a thick milkshake.

Adding some chocolate or other flavors helps individualize it to your own taste.

Espresso Martini

If you’ve ever had a martini, you might be surprised as to how different an espresso martini tastes. 

Unlike a traditional martini, one made with Irish cream should be frothy, creamy, and sweet. To make this somewhat less sweet and more coffee-like, garnish the glass with crushed coffee beans. This will also add a nice bittersweet flavor to the drink.

Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew 

When we mentioned that Irish cream didn’t have to be alcoholic, this is what we had in mind. 

Starbucks somewhat recently introduced an Irish cream cold brew coffee

To start, Starbucks cold brew coffee is slightly sweeter and less acidic than their iced coffee. To this base, you get Irish cream syrup which has more chocolate notes than vanilla. 

It’s then topped with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and some cocoa powder. 

This makes for a drink that’s sweet, but not overly so. It’s also cream, rich, and allows the flavor of the coffee to home through.

Coffee Creamer

Another nonalcoholic addition to the list is coffee creamer.

However, the coffee creamer has a somewhat different flavor than actual Irish cream. As opposed to vanilla, chocolate, or nuts, Irish cream coffee creamer often takes more like brown sugar. If you put this in your coffee, you might find yourself with a flavor you’re not looking for.

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The Takeaway

Irish cream, generally, tastes sweet with hints of vanilla and chocolate. It also tends to have a somewhat nutty flavor.

It has a thick, rich, creamy consistency. It’s an excellent addition to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks alike.