Liqueur Review: Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur

Saint Brendan's Irish Cream Liqueur
Saint Brendan's Irish Cream Liqueur

There are quite a few Irish Cream liqueurs out there and to be honest I’ve only tried maybe two or three. Really just the most popular ones you see in stores around these parts like Bailey’s Irish Cream and O’Reillys Irish Cream are the ones I’ve given a go.

Saint Brendan’s has an subtly attractive bottle and I hadn’t noticed it before and at $17 I figured it was worth a shot. Due to the low price I did ask the shopkeep if he had any experience with it and he said it was now his favorite cream liqueur. After his positive review of it, I picked up a bottle to try for myself.


I don’t have much background on this one. It’s obviously named after Saint Brendan and Wikipedia tells me that Saint Brendan was an early Irish monastic saint that was renowned for a legendary journey to an Isle of the Blessed. I’m not very schooled on any Saints, but it sounds like some interesting reading.

Saint Brendan’s Irish cream is made in Derry, Northern Ireland, using local Irish whiskey and fresh cream.

Kick’n the tires:

Right off, I’ll tell you that out of the few Irish Cream Liqueurs that I have tried, this could very well be the best one. You take a sip and immediately you get that sweet creamy texture followed up by a mild Irish whiskey. The whiskey is not too stong; I think even those who are not really into whiskey could enjoy the flavor.

Now this definitely isn’t just whiskey and cream. There are some other flavors floating around that are hard to describe. I would say that Mocha is a good approximation, almost like hints of chocolate and coffee except very very slight. I may even detect some spices, but it is hard to tell. I’m no hound dog.

I’ve tried this on the rocks, and straight. I think I prefer it on the rocks as my texture preference is for it to be just a little bit runnier than it is straight. Drinking it straight its quite thick and may be too rich for some.

Overall I think the balance of flavors is wonderful and in my opinion it is not overly sweet when drinking it on the rocks. Of course it is still a cream liqueur so it’s going to be best when you ARE wanting something sweet. I’m just saying its not overkill.

I’ll definitely be finishing this bottle off after dinner every few nights.

P.S. I know cream liqueurs are popular in coffee-based drinks, but let me know if you’ve tasted any other interesting cocktails that include a cream liqueur.

32 thoughts on “Liqueur Review: Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur”

  1. Saint Brendens has been my coffee additive of choice for ever 15 years now! Once I taste it I knw that Baileys was off my shelf. Not only is it incredibly smooth and rich, the subtle undertones of caramel, cardamom & mocha are just outstanding. I use it every weekend in my coffee, but also as a flavor additive to: chocoate buttercream icing, brownies (substitute Saint Brendens for the water in your boxed recipe and for the milk in your homemade recipe), chocolate pudding ( same as for brownies in the substitutions) as well as in my coffee & Irish cream truffles (I’m a chef & chocolatier by trade).

    There is not end to the yumminess of Saint Brendens!

    (not a spokespers or employee of Saint Brendens!!)
    Chef O’Connor

  2. What’s the proof? I just drank 2 coffees with st brendans added and the flavor is all I notice. I don’t feel that I’ve drank any whiskey.

  3. I’m not sure for St Brendans liqueur specifically, but most liqueurs are around %15 – %30 ABV. Usually on the lower end of that spectrum. You drank approximately the equivalent of one hard drink or one beer. Not to mention that caffeine supposedly masks the perceived buzz from alcohol (but not the actual effects like a decrease in motor skills). The previously mentioned effect is the reason the FDA banned some alcoholic type energy drinks.

  4. St. Brendan’s is better than most I’ve had…just not great for a night cap for those of us that are sensitive to caffeine.

  5. I’ve recently tried to quit drinking anywhere near bed time, as any alcohol seems to make me sleep bad. I read a study that suggested alcohol disturbs the deeper stages of sleep in some people. It is quite good added to coffee! 🙂 I’d like to try making a home made whiskey-based cream liqueur soon. Maybe I’ll experiment with a whiskey-based coffee liqueur.

  6. Saint Brendan’s is probably the worst Irish cream I have ever had. I used it for White Russians and it created floating chunks at the top of my beverage. It has a weird after taste both by itself, and in mixed drinks. I have never had an Irish cream that I’ve not liked but this one is the one and only. If going for a White Russian skip the St. Brendan’s and go for the Kamora or Baily’s. You will regret if it you don’t!

  7. Anthony, sounds like you got a bad bottle maybe.. I didn’t run into the aftertaste or have any chunks.

    As far as the chunks go – it sounds like something in your drink curdled the cream component. If you add any ingredients that raise the acidity in a cream-based drink it can curdle the cream and create the chunks you spoke of.

    White Russian cocktails traditionally have Vodka, Coffee Liqueur and Cream, but no cream liqueur. Are you replacing the cream component with Irish Cream Liqueur? That actually sounds pretty tasty! Since Irish Cream Liqueur has Irish whiskey and cream, then you really have both whiskey and vodka in the cocktail. Do you use a particular recipe?

    I’ve had Bailey’s Irish Cream, but prefer the Saint Brendan’s. Though I haven’t tried Kamora, so I’ll have to pick some of that up.

  8. I like this stuff. Some don’t. With that said, Tony, you make white rushkies with kahlua, vodka, and milk/cream. You don’t use Irish cream liquors. Get a clue! The Dude would not approve.

  9. Have been trying to find a web site to get st Brendan coffee creamer. I have seen them and used them but would like to buy some? They come in individual cup like coffee mate.

  10. Gloria – I’m not sure where you can find that. I did a little Google searching and couldn’t turn up anything for St Brendans coffee creamer. I’d visit the contact page at and see if they can point you towards where you might find it.

  11. I’ve tried Bailey, and a few other Irish creams, but I prefer Saint Brendan’s because its smooth and the price is right. I am a faithful customer.

  12. Don’t know if this thread is still alive, but I’ll comment anyway. I tried all of the Irish Creams the liquor store stocks here in PA (Bailey’s, Brendan’s, O’Ryans, Carolan’s), and prefer Brendan’s. It has a very smooth taste and not nearly the bite of Bailey’s. It’s excellent in hot chocolate too (I’m not a coffee drinker), and serves the Irish Car Bomb well.

  13. Thanks for commenting. I still haven’t had a chance to try my hand at any homemade Irish Cream Liqueur yet. I just made a Creme de Cacao liqueur that is steeping, so I’ll post about that when it comes around. It’ll probably be good mixed with cream! Brendan’s in hot chocolate sounds amazing.

  14. My pallet totally agreed with your review of favors and timeline of taste(s). A couple of friends recommended a fun drink with Bailey’s, frozen coffee and cream so as I paid a visit to my liquor store to purchase more Baileys but first asked the owner if there was a good substitute at a better price point. He recommended St. Brendans and now I have purchased my third bottle. Primarily I use on ice as a nightcap (as most do) but will soon try the pudding/brownie idea above. Thanks.

  15. I’ve been a Baileys consumer for years. My brother-in-law introduced me to St Brendan’s, have been buying it the last six months. It has a different taste that Baileys does not have, it’s great mixed with coffee. Found amazing receipts on St Brendan’s website.

  16. FUN FACT:

    St. Brendan sailed to America 1,000 years before Columbus did but, unfortunately, was not able to tame the then harsh land for survival purposes, and as such, he was forced to return to Ireland.

  17. WOW. I’ve been buying the very expensive Bailey’s bottles for my white russians for a year or two now and just today I found Brendan’s in the store. The bottle is much more attractive and the storekeep said it was more authentic than Bailey’s. It was only $12 for a 750ml bottle so I was wary but wow! It’s delicious and has a less syrupy consistency than Bailey’s!

    Cheaper and tastes better, this is my new standby for white Russians; can’t wait to try it in fresh ground local coffee!

  18. I find that, at HALF the price of Bailey’s, St Brendan’s is a great alternative. I drink it over ice. What I DON’T understand is why they can’t say they use Bushmill’s (assuming they do). They used to say they used whiskey distilled “just steps from the Giant’s Causeway on the northern coast of Ireland in the world’s oldest distillery”–that is Old Bushmill’s. Their website now says “our triple distilled Irish whiskey is crafted in a genuine Irish distillery.” Maybe they got called on the old claim. It’s a mystery.

  19. Switched from Baileys many moons ago and will not switch back. Much smoother, creamier taste, and the price is much better. Have also substituted in several food recipes and cooks/bakes well, no burnt taste. If you want to try something different, go to website and try a few of their recipes, several are very good and several, yuck. 🙂

  20. I went out to buy some Bailey’s today and knowing that it would be VERY expensive, I looked around for a lower priced brand. I had NOT heard of ST. Brendan’s before but at $19 for 1.75 liter AND with a $6 mail in rebate, I figured, WTF. I’m not going to say if it’s better or worse than Bailey’s or others because taste is a matter of personal preference. Suffice it to say, I like it and I’ll keep buying it. By the way, the rebate ends 12/31.

    To answer an earlier post, the Brendan’s website says it’s 17% alcohol (34 proof).

  21. During the holidays I drink it on the rocks, with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top. Instant eggnog for one!

    Not nearly as good as Coole Swan, but a heck of a lot less expensive (then again none are as good as Coole Swan). I do miss the discontinued Bushmill’s Irish Cream, that was reasonably priced and really good. Damn Diageo… I prefer Brendan’s on the rocks, but Bailey’s in coffee drinks as it doesn’t thin out as much. For a really great coffee drink, try a shot of espresso with a shot of Bailey’s in it, great stuff!

  22. Tried St. Brendan’s Irish Cream for first time because I just couldn’t see spending $27 for Bailey’s, and I discovered it is every bit as good, maybe a bit better. Excellent flavor, not too much whiskey taste. It’s outstanding, and I highly recommend. Plus, it’s a lot easier on the pocketbook.

  23. Craig – Apparently Bushmill’s bought Bailey’s. I’m guessing they either don’t want anyone knowing their whiskey is used in a competitor’s Irish Cream, or they no longer sell it to St. Brendan’s. That’s also why they discontinued Bushmill’s Irish Cream.

    I’m trying St. Brendan’s for the first time now. It’s definitely better than Carolyn’s, or whatever it’s called, but I think I still prefer Bailey’s.

  24. Getting ready for our annual St. Patty’s ‘Shinjig,’ and will be heading our for some more Brendan’s soon (at $10.99 for 750ml). Just wanted to throw out another drink suggestion for those who will also be celebrating with some Irish Cream soon. Mix some with a glass of root beer, and you have something that tastes very similar to a root beer float, with a bit more kick of course. Enjoy!

  25. It tastes only O.K., not near as good as Bailey’s. What really got me was the stupid “rebate” they tout to spur sales. I fell for it . I used by proper address I always use to receive mail, even legal papers and tax papers, but they wrote me and stated I had an invalid address or state!

    St. Brendan’s is a scam. Don’t buy it, they’re crooks.

  26. Taste is quite subjective, just because everyone else commenting here likes it doesn’t mean you are going to like it. However, calling a brand of liquor a “scam” is quite a stretch when your only evidence is an unfortunate error in a rebate program and the fact that you don’t like it as much as another liquor.

    They sell liquor for a certain price, like every other liquor company does. Not exactly a scam. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *