The Irish cactus

March 1, 2020

The Irish cactus brings together an unlikely duo to create a simple, creamy cocktail. If you’ve ever wondered what the combination of tequila and Irish cream tastes like, give this recipe a try.

What’s interesting about the Irish cactus is that tequila is pushed to the background. That hint of agave flavor that is distinctly tequila pokes out from behind the sweet cream liqueur and provides a fascinating taste.

This drink is a great way to enjoy tequila as a dessert cocktail. It’s ease also makes it a happy hour favorite.

  • Total:3 mins
  • Prep:3 mins
  • Cook:0 mins
  • Yield:1 cocktail (1 serving)


  • 2 ounces Irish cream liqueur
  • 1-ounce tequila

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, pour the Irish cream and tequila.

  3. Stir well.

  4. Serve and enjoy!


  • Silver (or Blanco) tequila is a great choice for the Irish cactus. It offers just enough tequila flavor and is often a little more affordable than its aged counterparts.
  • Then again, there’s something to be said for adding a little barrel-aging flavor to this drink. Give the Irish cactus a try with good reposado tequila and compare the difference. You might be pleasantly surprised.
  • Baileys is the best-known Irish cream, but there are other brands available. This recipe is a good one to try any new-to-you bottles. Try Carolan’s, Kerrygold, Molly’s, O’Darby, or St. Brendan’s to see how they stack up.
  • To reduce dilution, consider serving this (and any creamy cocktail) over large pieces of ice rather than cubes. Two-inch cubes and ice balls will melt slower so you don’t have to suffer through a watered-down drink.

Recipe Variations

  • Serve this cocktail up in a cocktail glass for a fancier presentation. Stir it in a cocktail shaker, then strain it. Since there’s no ice in the glass, you’ll find it best when the glass is well-chilled.
  • Adding 1/2 ounce of coffee liqueur is a nice addition to this drink—it’s sort of a creamy sombrero. Kahlua is a common choice in that flavor, though for the Irish cactus you might want to go with the tequila-based Patron XO Cafe.
  • Oddly enough, the Irish cactus is a nice mix, but another tequila-Irish cream drink is not such a hit. The Apocalypse Now shooter combines the two, but it also mixes the tequila with dry vermouth before Irish cream is layered on top. It just goes to show that sometimes the simpler drinks are best.

How Strong Is an Irish Cactus?

The Irish cactus may be soothing and delicious, but it also has an alcohol kick. When made with the average liquor, it mixes up to 23 percent ABV (46 proof). That’s right in line with most fruity martinis as well as the shaken margarita.