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This easy Kahlua recipe needs just a few ingredients, including coffee, vanilla, and spirits. It takes about fifteen minutes to make and creates about three standard wine bottles by volume. Enjoy homemade Kahlua at home, or pour it into small bottles for homemade gifts.
There’s something so cozy about curling up in the winter with a sweet tipple. Baileys, Tia Maria, and Kahlua are big favorites, but there is even more to sip and enjoy. Despite the hefty price tag per bottle in the shop, liqueurs like Kahlua are easy and inexpensive to make at home. This homemade Kahlua recipe costs just a third of the price of a branded bottle and tastes like the original recipe.
Kahlúa is a branded coffee-rum liqueur famous in the US and other places. You can have it served simply over ice (or vanilla ice cream) or mixed into cocktails; Black Russian, White Russian, Espresso Martini, and Mudslide drinks all have Kahlua as an ingredient. It’s a simple but incredibly delicious coffee-flavored liqueur that’s sweet and full-flavored, and most people like it. And instead of buying a bottle, why not make a batch yourself? You may already have everything to make Kahlua in your kitchen cupboards.
Easy Kahlua Recipe
The homemade Kahlua recipe below will take you step-by-step through how to make homemade coffee liqueur from scratch. It’s a simple process and very easy to make! First, you make a simple syrup using hot water and sugar. Then, you add instant coffee and vanilla and bottle it up. THAT’S IT. The only tricky part of making it is keeping your mitts off it while it’s infusing and the flavors meld together. Yes, you could drink it right away, but if you wait at least a couple of weeks, it tastes even nicer.
How to Make Kahlua
If you choose to, you can also vary the ingredients slightly, customizing it to suit your own taste. You can make it more or less sweet, alcoholic, or more coffee. The original Kahlua recipe is a coffee-flavored liquor from Mexico with a 26.5% alcohol content. The current branded Kahlua has 20% alcohol. The recipe below will make homemade Kahlua with about 17% alcohol.
I use vodka to make this recipe, but for a more authentic homemade Kahlua, use rum. If you use stronger grain alcohol, like Everclear, you can make it much more alcoholic! Enjoy the recipe below and consider making some to give as gifts for coffee lovers. You could bottle it up in pretty bottles, tie it with ribbons, and make some friends and family very happy. Another thing that you can do is replace the water ingredient in any chocolate cake recipe with homemade Kahlua. My grandma used to do that, and it made an incredible chocolate coffee cake that is out of this world!
More Homemade Liqueur Recipes
Homemade Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
- 4 cups water, scalding hot* (950 g)
- 2 cups brown sugar (400 g)
- 2 cups white sugar (400 g)
- 1/2 cup instant coffee granules* (50 g – your choice of regular or decaf)
- 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla extract)
- 4 cups white rum or vodka* (889 g / use rum for a more authentic Kahlua)
- Clean bottles (Your choice of type, and you can use recycled wine bottles, small bottles for gifts, or even mason jars.)
- Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan on the stovetop. Turn the heat off. Alternatively, boil water in an electric kettle for this step.
- Place both sugars into a heat-proof bowl and pour the now scalding water over it. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, then add the instant coffee. Stir again until dissolved then cool to room temperature.
- Once the coffee mixture has cooled, slice your vanilla pod along the side. Scrape the gooey insides out with a knife and stir it into the liquid. Alternatively, you can use vanilla extract.
- Pour the vodka into the mix and stir gently. Then, using a funnel, pour the coffee liqueur into the bottles and seal them. If any vanilla remains at the bottom of the bowl, spoon it out and into the bottles.
- Stand your bottles of homemade Kahlua upright in a cool dark place, out of direct sunlight, and wait about two to three weeks before drinking it. This gives the flavors, especially the vanilla, time to infuse. If you absolutely can't wait that long, it's fine to drink any time after you make it.
- You can serve homemade Kahlua on its own over ice, or mix it into a cocktail. Kahlua is the key ingredient in making White Russians, and to make your own, mix one shot of vodka with half a shot of homemade Kahlua and pour it into a glass. Top the drink with a drizzle of heavy cream, and then plop a few ice cubes on top. Cheers!