Baby guiness cocktail in shot glass

Ingredients and Recipe for a Baby Guinness Shot: What You Need to Know

Ireland’s national drink, Guinness is a rich, creamy beer with low alcohol content, balancing bitterness with notes of coffee and chocolate. While the dessert-like description of Guinness sounds like it has the potential to be an after-dinner drink, you won’t find it in a shot of baby Guinness. Instead, a baby Guinness consists of coffee liqueur and Irish cream, another iconic Irish ingredient.

The shot of black coffee liqueur topped with a white cap of Irish cream assumes the appearance of a pint of Guinness with its dark stout body and white foamy head, hence the name, baby Guinness. Even the shot glass looks like a miniature pint glass! Plus, the bittersweet nature of coffee liqueur parallels the tasting notes in its namesake stout, while Irish cream adds authenticity and even more dessert flavors.

There are a few origin stories floating around about the baby Guinness. The first dates the name back to a 1907 court case in Dublin that prosecuted a bar for selling bottles of Guinness illegally on a Sunday. Women would transport Guinness to customers, cradling the bottles under their cloaks as if they were babies. The second, albeit uncorroborated, story asserts that the baby Guinness shot was invented in the 1980s and 1990s at a bar located next to a maternity hospital. Supposedly, the bartender would serve new parents with a shot of coffee and Baileys to celebrate the arrival of their baby.

Baby Guinness variations and tips

making baby guinness with spoon

The standard recipe for a baby Guinness calls for a proportion of two parts coffee liqueur to one part Irish cream. Kahlua or Tia Rosa are the standard rum-infused coffee liqueurs used to make the bittersweet foundation for a thick creamy Baileys topping. There are, however, plenty of different coffee liqueurs that’ll bring nuanced flavors to a baby Guinness. While Baileys is an authentic Irish ingredient, Costco’s proprietary Kirkland brand offers a similar product. A variation on the baby Guinness swaps coffee liqueur for black sambuca, an anise and black licorice liqueur that is also often consumed with coffee. You could thus make a proper cocktail with sambuca, Baileys, and Kahlua.

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Despite the tiny nature of its measurements, baby Guinness is a layered shot cocktail that requires a bit of technique to achieve the desired appearance. The recommended technique for layering involves pouring Irish cream over the back of a spoon to create a distinguishable frothy head. A gentle, slow pour of Baileys over the spoon will ensure that it will fall lightly on top of the coffee liqueur. A hasty, heavy pour will result in a coffee-and-cream appearance. Bartenders also assert that all the ingredients and even the shot glass should be chilled for the best results.

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