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Coffee Liquer

Classification: coffee liquer, kahlua

Source: Stuart Mennitt (, r.c.b., 12/14/94

This recipe is from COFFEE: A guide to Brewing and Enjoying by Kennith Davids. My personal suggestions are shown in brackets.



Use a filter cone or pot to make the coffee. Slit the vanilla bean and add it to the water: bring the water just to boiling and simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve. Pour the hot water over the coffee slowly, making sure to wet all the grounds. Pour the resulting concentrated coffee through the grounds a second time. [use resulting super-brew as the 1 part measure, not the original 1 part water. Just brew with equal parts water and coffee and use the resulting liquid as the 1 part.]

[what works better is to make the coffee Turkish style in a big sauce pan, bring it up to 190-200F, let it steep for a while, then strain it into a collander lined with cheesecloth and a giant paper filter, available at places that use those giant brew urns]

Immediately dissolve the sugar in the hot concentrate. Add the vodka and the reserved vanilla bean, and refrigerate in a sterilized , stoppered bottle for a few days. Taste: when you can begin to distinguish the vanilla flavor, discard the vanilla bean and store the liqueur in a second bottle, or pour and serve. If you're impatient, substitute vanilla extract for the bean. Add 2 or 3 drops per cup of vodka any time after you've brewed the coffee. If you want your liqueur to have the very heavy body of the commercial product, add the glycerine before refrigerating. Variations: Substitute light rum for the vodka, or add a dash of tequila to every cup of rum or vodka.

The simple addition of chocolate turns coffee liqueur into Mocha Liqueur. Thoroughly mix one part hot water and one part unsweetened cocoa powder. Add 1/2 tablespoon of this mixture to every cup of the finished coffee liqueur, and mix thoroughly.

[1] Styles of coffee liqueurs differ. Before making your own, I suggest you determine which style you prefer: Kahlua, for example, is heavy-bodied and based on a dark-roast coffee; others, like Tia Maria or liqueurs based on Kona coffee, use a lighter roast. If you prefer Kahlua, use a dark-roasted coffee and go a little heavier on the vanilla and (if you use it) glycerin; if you prefer one of the liqueurs based on a lighter roast, use a medium-roast, acidy coffee, like a Costa Rican