Making Coffee-Flavoured Liqueur Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Making Coffee-Flavoured Liqueur

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There are many coffee-flavoured alcoholic beverages on the market. What could possibly go wrong when you mix three of the basic food groups: caffeine, sugar and alcohol?

The prevailing theory is that you get a wide awake, hyperactive drunkard. However, used in moderation, neither of these ingredients are particularly bad for you and each is reported to have some actual health benefits. So, combining them all should be even more healthy, right?!

There are, of course, some specialised liqueurs like this on the market, like the Mexican Kahlúa, but they can be pricey. Or maybe you don't have one to hand when you're craving a drink that calls for Kahlúa - the Black Russian and White Russian being two well-known examples. There are plenty of recipes out there for homemade coffee liqueurs, especially Kahlúa, but many of them ignore the description on the bottle, or just don't try to include all of the described ingredients and aromatics, or use alcohol bases that are just as expensive as the original.

Another problem with these recipes is their attempt to use instant coffee combined with a simple syrup (pretty much equal parts of water and sugar), which is just amazingly wrong. It often results in additional bitterness and watered down flavour. Why use instant when you can just brew a couple of cups, or, failing all else, gather leftover coffee from this morning's pot?

Here is a quick, simple and inexpensive recipe:


  • 1 empty Kahlúa bottle-sized, heavy glass bottle (750ml)
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups (350ml) brewed coffee
  • 4 tsp (20ml) vanilla extract*
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) dark treacle*
  • ¾ cups (180ml) dark rum*
  • Enough vodka to top up the remainder of the bottle


STEP 1: Make a simple syrup, but with brewed coffee instead of water.

  • In a medium size sauce pan, heat coffee until it starts to simmer.
  • Add sugar and continue to heat until bubbling.
  • Remove from heat and use a funnel to pour it into your bottle.

STEP 2: Prepare flavourings.

  • Add the rum to the empty pan.
  • Add vanilla and treacle and stir until thoroughly combined.

STEP 3: Combine and mix completely.

  • Funnel rum mixture into your bottle.
  • Carefully top up with vodka to fill the remainder of the bottle and shake to mix.

And there you have it - your own passable substitute for shop bought coffee-flavoured liqueur.

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