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Home » Irish Cream Cold Brew Recipe (Starbucks Copycat)

Irish Cream Cold Brew Recipe (Starbucks Copycat)

Booze and coffee are as classic of a combination as, well, chocolate and cake. The coffee provides the nuance in flavors, while the liqueur gives you that morning buzz that makes the rest of the day a little brighter. But Irish whiskey, cream, and coffee probably shouldn’t be a regular go-to for a weekday morning. So, Starbucks’ Irish cream cold brew is the next best option.

Starbucks Irish cream cold brew copycat is a delicious choice for any time of day, with warm vanilla, chocolate, coffee notes, and a hint of almonds. Keep reading to learn how to make an Irish cream cold brew recipe.

Irish Cream Cold Brew Recipe

What Is the Irish Cream Cold Brew?

When Home Grounds researched the list of the 45 best Starbucks drinks, we came across the Irish cream cold brew. And since we’ve already developed recipes for the Salted Caramel Cold Brew, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, and Almond Milk Cold Brew, developing yet another cold brew recipe was a welcome challenge.

A Little History

In 2019, Starbucks announced that it would release a new cold brew beverage for the holiday season: the Irish cream cold brew (1).

Evocative of all the warmth, richness, and creaminess of a traditional Irish cream liqueur, why does this chocolaty, vanilla, and cold brew combination work?

It pairs so well with cold brew because of the chocolate flavor in the Irish cream and the cocoa notes from the coffee. …This will help get them into the holiday spirit for the rest of the day.

Developing the Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew Copycat Recipe

Traditionally, Irish cream is a simple combination of Irish whiskey and cream. While you can enjoy it on its own, most people like putting it into their coffee.

So for our Starbucks Irish cream cold brew copycat recipe, we strove to accomplish that same warmth and richness without the whiskey.

Vanilla Extract vs. Vanilla bean Paste

First, if you can’t get a hold of vanilla bean paste, don’t worry. You can substitute the same amount of the vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract.

We used vanilla bean paste in this recipe because we wanted the vanilla flavor to be front and center. Vanilla extract imparts subtle vanilla notes. Differently, with its thicker consistency and bean seeds, vanilla bean paste brings an intensity that wouldn’t be present if we’d used the extract.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bars vs. Chips

While a chocolate cookie baked with either a bar or chips is delicious just the same, chocolate chips tend to contain stabilizers to hold their shape. But for this recipe, we set a goal of letting the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves, so we opted to use a semi-sweet chocolate bar with 55% cocoa.

However, if you only have chips on hand, you can still make this recipe and follow the instructions as given.

Simple Syrup vs. Sweetened Condensed Milk

Here’s another matter of preference. You can always get a bottle of Irish cream syrup in stores. But if you’re like us who prefers a certain consistency, then we can help you DIY. We prefer thicker sauces to thinner syrups because they usually pack in more flavor per spoonful. For us, sweetened condensed milk was the perfect choice because it lent sweetness and depth to the Irish cream syrup.

You may have to stir more to ensure the Irish cream syrup dissolves evenly and entirely once added to the cold brew. For this reason, you may want to use simple syrup instead of sweetened condensed milk.

The Cold Foam

While it may sound complicated, cold foam is a flavored whipped cream. The cold foam contains fat, sugar, and flavoring and requires you to incorporate air to create foamy peaks.

Stabilized vs. Unstabilized Cold Foam

Traditionally, the cold foam will only hold its shape if there is enough air. Over time, the cream deflates and settles to the bottom of the glass, making decorating with it pretty impossible.

But if you’re entertaining guests and want a sturdier cold foam to work with, you can make stabilized cold foam. This cold foam contains stabilizers—like gelatine—to hold its shape. Then, you can put the stabilized cold foam into a piping bag and use different tips to create fantastic designs for your Irish cream cold brew (2).

Frothing with the French Press

We’ve decided to use the French press as the main workhorse for this project. They’re inexpensive, endlessly versatile, and a must-have for every coffee connoisseur. Plus, since you’re meant to use it for brewing coffee, we can froth the cold foam after making our cold brew concentrate.

But if you don’t have a French press, you can accomplish the same result with a whisk, a chilled glass bowl, or even a hand mixer.

The Cold Brew Coffee

Your standard cold brew coffee recipe calls for one part of coarse-ground coffee to 4 or 5 parts of water, depending on how concentrated you want the flavors to be. We used a 1:4 ratio of coffee to water and steeped it at room temperature for about 16 hours.

So, with a 32-ounce French press, you’ll be using ¾ cup of coarse-ground coffee with 3 cups water.

After making the cold brew coffee, everything is prepped and we can make a Starbucks Irish cream cold brew copycat recipe.

What You Need (Irish Cream Cold Brew)

  • 2.5 ounces Irish cream syrup
  • 12 ounces cold brew
  • 2 ounces of vanilla cold foam
  • ½ teaspoon cocoa powder, or more to taste
  • One 16-ounce glass with wide rim

At A Glance

Brew Time:

5-10 minutes, assembly only

Yield

16 ounces

What You Need (Irish Cream Syrup)

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-¾ cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cold brew
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Microwave
  • One 24-ounce mason jar
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve, optional

At A Glance:

Brew time:

5-10 minutes

Yield

18 ounces

What You Need (DIY Vanilla Cold Foam)

  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 2-3 teaspoons powdered sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Irish cream syrup
  • One 32-ounce French press

At A Glance

Brew Time:

3-5 minutes

Yield

½ cup

How to Make a Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew Copycat Recipe

Here’s a step-by-step Irish cream cold brew recipe.

1. Make the Homemade Irish cream syrup

In a 24-ounce mason jar, combine 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, 1-¾ cups heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of cold brew, 1 teaspoon of almond extract, 2 teaspoons of the extract or vanilla bean paste and shake well to combine.

Melt 1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate and add to the mason jar. Do this once its contents are just below room temperature. Shake or whisk to combine. 

If you’d like a smoother texture, strain the Irish cream syrup through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve as an optional step.

Pro Tip: Do not add the melted chocolate to the cold base. Otherwise, the chocolate will seize, and you’ll have to add more liquid.

2. Make the Irish cream cold foam

In a 32-ounce French press, combine ¼ cup cold heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of delicious Irish cream syrup, and 3 teaspoons of powdered sugar.

Place the French press lid on, and inject air into the mixture using three large pumps. Then, texture the mixture using 10 smaller pumps near the bottom of the French press, gently swirling and tapping to get rid of larger bubbles. Repeat this process—sans the larger pumps—until the cold foam has nearly doubled in volume.

Pro Tip: A French press is the best way to make hot or cold-frothed milk without spending money on an espresso machine. The fine mesh filter helps to maintain a silky, glossy consistency in the milk.

For a visual demonstration of the technique, check out this video from Happy Haelibo.

3. Assemble the Irish cream cold brew

In a 16-ounce glass, add 4 tablespoons of homemade Irish cream syrup, 12 ounces of cold brew, and about 4 ounces of Irish cream cold foam.

Once assembled, dust the top with cocoa powder and enjoy your Irish cream cold brew.

Final Thoughts

And that’s how you make a better-than-Starbucks Irish cream cold brew copycat recipe. Once you’ve got the basics down, customize it to the palette of flavors you enjoy.

Did you make this? Tell us about it by dropping a comment below. Also, please don’t forget to rate and share this with your friends.

FAQs

Yes, you can use sugar-free chocolate. To melt the chocolate bar or chips, set your microwave to 50% power and microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk between each interval and repeat the process until the chocolate is melted and shiny.

Yes, you can use sugar substitutes. But since different sugar alternatives have varying levels of sweetness when compared to regular sugar, you may need to read the package directions and experiment to find the best amount for you.

Yes, you can make non-dairy cold foam. While all dairy alternatives can froth up just like their whole milk counterparts, it may take a bit more time and effort.

So to save yourself some work, we suggest going with cashew milk, as it will provide the same richness and creaminess you’d expect from heavy cream.

  1. Introducing Irish Cream Cold Brew. (2019). Starbucks Stories. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2019/introducing-irish-cream-cold-brew/
  2. Shugarman, A. (2022, May 10). Stabilized Whipped Cream. Shugary Sweets. https://www.shugarysweets.com/stabilized-whipped-cream/
Iris M. Pang
One of my first childhood memories of coffee was in Montreal, Quebec. Every time my family and I walked through the mall, the aroma of fresh, brewed coffee and Belgian waffles permeated all the stores. Whatever that delicious smell was, I had to have it. And the rest is history. When I'm not writing or touring local coffee shops, you'll find me on social media, trying out different ethnic cuisine at local restaurants, and having deep discussions over coffee and pastries.

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