Shake It Up: Best Ever Whipped Cream Hack

Food & Drink

If you like fresh homemade whipped cream but don’t like taking the trouble to use and clean your electric mixer…I have a hack for you.

I can’t take credit for it, this tip comes from Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, and it is genius. When they told me that a plastic squeeze bottle was integral to making the perfect Irish coffee, I was both skeptical and intrigued.  I thought that I already knew how to make the best Irish coffee. I was confident that I learned the “secret” last summer when I traveled to Ireland to learn about Irish whiskey.  In the name of research, I drank Irish coffees several times a day, and asked everyone for their secret recipe. I got a lot of tips, but no one gave me this best-ever whipped cream trick.

It is well known that the cream that tops Irish coffee or any other hot beverage, cannot be too stiff or it will get in the way of the drink. The joy of an Irish Coffee is sipping the hot coffee and whiskey through the cool cream.  If you over-whip the cream, it acts like a dam and the hot liquid won’t flow through.  Thickened cream, a.k.a. lightly whipped, is the key and now I know that you can easily make it without any kind of electric appliance.  All you need is a squeeze bottle or mason jar and a little elbow grease. 

During the demonstration, Brendan Burke, bartender of The Kerryman in Chicago, instructed us to fill our squeeze bottles half full with heavy cream and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

The first time I made it, I didn’t believe that it would only take 30 seconds, so I kept shaking.  Once I opened the bottle, I was well on my way to making butter. I thinned it out with whiskey and still used it, but it didn’t have that perfect soft creamy texture.  The next time I made it, I was careful to time my ‘shakes’ and discovered that the more cream that is in the bottle or jar, the longer it will take.  The slender squeeze bottle was perfect at 30-40 seconds, but my mason jar needed twice as long. Remember, you can always make it thicker by shaking it longer.  If you shake it too long and it is too thick, you can thin it out like I did with a little whiskey or some more cream.  This is also a great way to make flavored whipped cream, adding your favorite spirit or liqueur.

This hack for thickening cream is a game-changer.  During the demo, I also learned that Irish Coffee is the third most ordered drink in restaurants after a Manhattan and an Old-Fashioned.  But I’ll bet that it isn’t made as often at home. I think what holds people back from making Irish coffee at home is making the thickened cream. People don’t want to go to the trouble of taking out their electric mixer to make whipped cream—I think that has to be the reason why so many people buy the stuff in the can.

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Using this shaker method, you can make perfect thickened cream on a whim.  Just remember that it is not an exact science, and the number of seconds it takes will vary based on how hard you shake, and how much cream you are shaking. But it is easy to check and shake a little more until you have your desired consistency. You can do what I do, and stick a spoon into the cream and hold it sideways. If the cream stays suspended like the photo above, it is perfect. If if doesn’t, shake a little more—it won’t take long before you know how long you need to shake the cream.

And, you can use the same technique for making whipped cream for your holiday desserts, just shake for 60 more seconds or longer to make the cream a bit stiffer.

With this hack in hand, I am looking forward to a winter filled with Netflix and comforting cups of Irish coffee!

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