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Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur}

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When I was little, my Mom went through a Kahlua phase that joyfully caused her to have ice cream in the freezer for like a month straight.  Having any sort of sweets on hand was literally unheard of in our house, but when she discovered this coffee liqueur and how good it tasted on ice cream, she stocked up!  To our further delight, Mom let us have it with her!  That is until Dad found out and told us that our Kahlua and ice cream days were over.  Mom seemed stunned at his outrage, as if she hadn’t realized that giving alcohol to children 9 and under might be folly.  I was majorly bummed at the time, but appreciate Dad’s intervention now.  With my addictive nature (have I mentioned my sweet teeth?), I hate to think of what my teen years might have been like with an unlimited supply of delicious Kahlua!

Although I don’t drink, I do love to bake with alcohol because it’s excellent for highlighting and intensifying flavor.  Because of my early exposure to Kahlua, it is my favorite liqueur and the one I use most often in baking.  I go through a large bottle of it every year, using it in Mocha-Frosted Kahlua Brownies and THE Mocha Crunch Cake exclusively.  Seriously, I make those two things so much that I need that much Kahlua just for them!

Unless you live in Mexico, Kahlua doesn’t come cheap, so I was thrilled when my friend, Suzie, shared her recipe for homemade Kahlua with me.  It never even occurred to me that it was something you could make at home, or I could have saved hundreds of dollars by now!  It is so much cheaper to make it yourself, and just as delicious.  You can use it in any recipe that calls for Kahlua with good results.

Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur}

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2/3 cup instant coffee
2 cups boiling water
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
3 cups vodka
1/4 cup Buttershots (a butterscotch flavored liqueur, optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

Place coffee in large glass bowl.  Pour water over and stir.  Add sugars and stir until most of the heat has dissipated.  The sugar won’t be completely dissolved but that is OK.  Stir in the vodka, Buttershots, and vanilla or vanilla bean.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about two weeks.  Stir every day or every couple of days.  Remove vanilla bean, if used, and ladle into bottles using a funnel.  Keeps in refrigerator for about 6-8 months.

Makes about 2 liters.

Recipe source: Suzie S.

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

58 responses »

  1. Awesome! I don’t remember if I ever sent you my dad’s recipe, I know I got it from my brother but I’m so scatterbrained these days i don’t remember. Well, who cares, I’m glad you made some! LOVE the buttershots in it! I know that my dad used to use less sugar as they didn’t like it as sweet. They used to say that theirs was so much better than the store bought stuff. And yes, WAY cheaper! Yum!

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  2. My neighbor was on a making homemade Kahlua kick a few years back…admittedly, it was the best Kahlua I had ever tasted! I love the addition of buttershots in your version!

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  3. Becky in Russia

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s been a joy following your blog. When we moved to Russia 6 months ago, I wasn’t able to bring all my cookbooks with me so having an online source of wonderful recipes (such as yours) widens my cooking horizons. I believe I can find all of these ingredients here and my husband and I LOVE and MISS kahlua! Now I just have to pick from the hundreds of varieties of vodkas at our grocery store and give this recipe a try!

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  4. Oh, this is my favorite discovery since homemade Baileys! Thanks! :) My mom had a similar recipe (that was lost over the years), but it didn’t have Buttershots in it. I see some Kahlua in my future!

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  5. AWESOME! I’m pretty sure my parents tried to give us alcohol by the time we were nine. They claim that in Italy everyone drinks it. I think it was part of some ploy to make me not so interested in it, and quite frankly it worked. These days I only really bake with alcohol. I’m loving this recipe for homemade kahlua!

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  6. Too bad for me I don’t drink alcohol…this sounds delicious!

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  7. This is so very cool! I love Kahlua and Baileys, and just recently became aware that one could attempt to make such things at home. I’m glad to have this recipe from you! I’m thinking some bottles of this would make excellent gifts. Yep. Gifts to myself, that is. =)

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    • Jenna, you are so funny! I agree, and I also would like to try making homemade vanilla with the rest of this vodka I have–that would make great gifts as well!

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  8. I had no idea that you could make kahlua from scratch! And kahlua on ice cream sounds amazing!

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  9. Art in Calif.

    My mother used to make Kahlua as well when I was a kid. As I grew up I tried her recipe (similar to yours in that it used instant coffee). I realized instant is horrible stuff.

    Here is my current recipe.
    1 pound whole bean coffee
    1.75 liter Brandy (or vodka)
    6 cups white sugar
    2 cups boiling water
    1/2 cup vanilla extract (the good Mexican stuff)

    In a gallon container place the beans and brandy.
    Let it sit in a cool dark place for a month (shake it up every so often)

    After a month, dissolve the sugar in the water and let cool until not too hot. (very subjective but if it is too hot the alcohol might evaporate or you might burn yourself while pouring it)

    Strain out the beans, add the vanilla and add the ‘syrup’.

    Bottle it and enjoy. Keeps at room temp for months (as if it lasts that long. ;-)

    I might try your half and half brown to white sugar. Good call.

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    • Oh, how interesting! I was planning to use 3 cups of real brewed hot coffee next time in place of the instant coffee and water, but I love your version even more. I imagine letting the beans steep in the alcohol really would get a good flavor to the liqueur. I will try this one next!

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      • Hi, we ran out of Kahlua last night and came across your post about home made Kahlua today. Did you ever try Art in Calif version? Which one do you prefer. For either recipe how many bottles does this make. Thanks! Julie

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        • Nope, I still haven’t tried it but I just ran out of Kahlua so I’m thinking about it. Mine makes quite a bit–I filled a 2 liter bottle and a big rum bottle with Kahlua after I made it.

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    • This sounds great. I’m going to try it. Thanks

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  10. Oh yes… i still need to try this. Can u belive i have never had it on ice cream?? Sounds like a plan!!!

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  11. Ha! Just noticed this today V! I’m glad you like it and have a cheaper way to make it now. I’ve made it for gifts also and people love it! :)

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  12. WOW – what a great recipe. I am a huge Kahlua fan and so excited to find this.

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  16. This is a great idea for a party or wedding favor. I’m planning a surprise 40th Birthday at the end of August for my husband, I think I might make them to give out to people. What size bottle did you put it in, (the bottle size in the picture)? Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • I really have no idea! I think it was like about 9″ tall with a diameter of 2″. The whole recipe nearly filled a 2-liter pop bottle and I still have a lot left after filling that little one. I probably could have filled 4 or 5 of them.

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      • Thanks Veronica. I look forward to making a few batches. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas on your site. I’m going crazy wanting to make everything.

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  20. Oh my! How yummy does this sound!
    I’m not a big drinker, but I like something now and then (usually in my coffee).
    This sounds amazing!
    Thank you and your friend for sharing! (:

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  21. I have had great success and make it every year. I have learned that yuban instant coffee makes it taste more like the real thing. So good!

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  22. This is amazing, I’m going to made this for my Dad for Christmas. Thank you!

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  23. I’m so glad to find your recipe!!! Love all the options…and yours is ready to serve a lot quicker! Love your cute jars, too :)

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  25. Has anyone tried using Splenda instead of the white sugar?

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  26. I have made your tasty & special coffee liqueur & loved it so much! so good! You can use it in everything! Yes!

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  27. I just made a double batch of this. It is sitting on the counter. I did not use Butterscotch Schnapps, however, I serve Butterball Shots….kaluha and Butterball Schnapps. I imagine it is really good with it right in the kaluha. Will report back how it turns out!! Thanks..

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  28. I tried your recipe because it was one of the easiest I could find.
    I made only 125ml of it, and replaced the vodka with dark rum and it was amazing!
    Love your recipe; love that it’s easy to follow and produces great results!

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  29. How is it with real coffee? Not much of a fan of the instant stuff.

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  30. I’m so excited! my first batch will be ready in a week- today i put half in another bowl and added the zest of one orange- and started a new batch, using real coffee, and 1/2 cup instant. Also put 1/4 cup cocoa powder in- cant wait to see how they all turn out :) Thanks so much for sharing!

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  31. Okay I’veade 2 batches of this and everyone loves it!! I did make some changes.(sorry I change everything like a mad scientist) Fresh brewed coffee for the hit water, more brown sugar and less white, orange peel, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder.oh, I added a bit of rum, but I don’t remember how much. Tastes like that orange chocolate ball you get at christmastime :) thanks so much for your recipe. I’ve given a bottle to all my baking friends!

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  32. What a great idea, especially for gifts! I like Cathryn L’s suggestion of adding orange peels.

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  33. Where did you find this little bottles?

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