In Spenny vs Penny we compare the products we love, with those following in their (sometimes pricey) footsteps. Are they worth the cash? Here, we try to find the best Irish cream liqueur, seeing how they compare to everyone’s go-to Christmas tipple, Baileys.
Spenny: Baileys Original Irish Cream, £12 (700ml)
Nothing says Christmas quite like Baileys. I could drink it by the pint, but I tend to settle for a small dram with ice after dinner, preferably by a roaring fire with ‘Love Actually’ in the background.
For the uninitiated (seriously, where have you been?), the drink is a blend of Irish whiskey, cocoa, vanilla and cream. The result is a smooth and moreish liqueur that’s sweet enough to replace a dessert, but light enough to enjoy on a full, post-Christmas-dinner stomach.
I have zero shame that I’ve been a sucker for all of the gendered marketing around Baileys over the years (it sponsored ‘Sex And The City’ before putting its name to the Women’s Prize for Fiction). And I always have (at least) one bottle at home. But as a die-hard fan, I’ve never ventured towards the supermarket alternatives. There’s a first time for everything...
Penny(ish): Taste the Difference Irish Cream Liqueur, Sainsbury’s, £10 (1000ml), 17% Vol.
As I unscrew the cap of the Sainsbury’s drink I’m met with the distinct scent of burnt toffee, an instant reminder of bonfire night. The liqueur tastes stronger than some of the others and will make you cough as it hits your throat if you go for a big gulp. And yet I keep going back for more. It’s one of the sweeter ones (and marginally artificial) so avoid if you don’t have a sweet tooth.
Penny: Specially Selected Irish Cream Liqueur, Aldi, £6.49 (700ml), 17% Vol.
With its sleek black bottle with oh-so-sophisticated gold writing, I’m surprised when I find out this bevvy is from Aldi. The drink inside is the most similar to Baileys of all the supermarket offerings, and dare I say it, even better. It’s thick and rich with a lovely balance of vanilla without being sickly. At almost half the price of the big brand counterpart, I’m converted. An absolute winner.
Penny: Delux Irish Cream, Lidl, £6.49, (700ml), 17% Vol.
With its now legendary Prosecco deals, Lidl has become my go-to supermarket for cut-price booze, but I’m slightly disappointed by the Irish cream offering. The taste is the furthest from Baileys of all the products, the sweetest and my least favourite. Instead of hints of chocolate, I’m hit with the artificial flavour of candy. The bottle’s label, which features a photograph of two glasses, also lacks the pizzazz of some of the others. Sorry, Lidl.
Penny: Causeway Coast Irish Country Cream, Asda, £3.87 (700ml), 12% Vol.
At just £3.87, Asda’s offering is the cheapest of the lot but sadly, that’s reflected in the quality. The liquid is far more watery than any of the others, which means it lacks the creamy luxuriousness I associate with Baileys. Having said that, this one’s perfect if you can’t be bothered to make ice. The flavour is nice enough and barely tastes alcoholic, making it dangerously quaffable.
And now for a bonus round.
Super Spenny: Irish Cream Liqueur, M&S, £13.00 (1000ml), 17% Vol.
Because I am truly dedicated to the Irish cream cause, I broke from the Spenny Penny tradition and tried a product more expensive than the market leader this week to see if it could beat the original. Sadly, the M&S £13 offering left a lot to be desired. It has a darker, stronger taste than the rest and in my opinion, isn’t worth the extra three quid (even for the slightly larger bottle).
We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.