Making your own Kahlua or Coffee Liqueur with a few simple ingredients including vanilla extract or vanilla beans & given the time to age results in a smooth rich Kahlua that will rival any store-bought brand for pennies on the dollar.
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Kahlua or coffee liqueur may be one of the easiest adult beverages to make homemade, and one that has been made & enjoyed here at IMSL for many years. Whether making it to be savored straight as a sipping liqueur, added to mixed cocktails, or bottled in a decorative container & given as gifts (one of our favorites to give), this Kahlua coffee liqueur recipe will be one you will want in your recipe box.
WHAT IS KAHLUA
Anyone who enjoys adult beverages has tried or at the very minimum heard of Kahlua. An adult beverage with roots steeped in Mexican history, Kahlua is a coffee liqueur made in Mexico & a staple in any well-stocked bar. It’s creamy, rich sweet coffee flavor continues to be enjoyed world-wide, and even hails its own celebratory day on February 27th…National Kahlua Day! Who knew?
Originally made with a combination of coffee, rum, corn syrup, and vanilla, a typical bottle can take up to 7 years to make, largely due to the length of time it takes to grow the coffee beans themselves. This is especially true of Kahlua Especial, a less sweet version than the original with a far stronger coffee flavor from utilizing 100% Arabica coffee beans. In addition, Kahlua Especial contains 36% alcohol as opposed to the original Kahlua which contains only 20%.
A BIT OF KAHLUA HISTORY
Kahlua, is a word with Arabic ties & is said to be slang for “coffee”, found its start in 1936 in Veracruz Mexico & was imported to the USA in 1940. Interestingly, what brought Kahlua to the media’s attention in the 1960’s was not so much the beverage itself, but the fact that there was an all women’s leadership within the company!
Kahlua’s continued to gain popularity from the 1970’s to present day. It continues to be enjoyed not only in many cocktail recipes but in culinary recipes as well. To this day, Kahlua remains the #1 coffee liqueur worldwide.
IMSL’S HOMEMADE KAHLUA RECIPE
Our homemade Kahlua recipe, although not steeped in as much history as the original, is somewhat varied by using vodka in lieu of rum. It happily boasts a rich, slightly sweet coffee flavor, & can easily be adjusted to use traditional rum instead if preferred.
KAHLUA RECIPE – HOW TO MAKE IT
For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients. No need to write it down, a printable recipe card will be provided at the end of this post. This recipe card will make 1 batch of homemade Kahlua. **NOTE: I make a double batch of this recipe as quite frankly, it doesn’t last the winter here on the hill 🙂 . Directions will be listed assuming a double batch is being made.
- Instant Coffee
- Vanilla Extract (or vanilla beans)
Begin by mixing in a medium size pan, 2 vanilla beans if using instead of vanilla extract (sliced open, seeds scraped from pods and add both seeds and pods) 4 cups of sugar with 4 cups of water. The preferred vanilla is from extract here on the hill for this recipe. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat & simmer 2-3 minutes.
Dissolve 12 Tbl instant coffee in 1/2 cup of boiling water.
Add the dissolved instant coffee to the pan with sugar/water mixture & cool to room temperature.
Add 4 Tbl of vanilla extract (our preferred ingredient) if not using vanilla beans & 4 Tbl Glycerin to the cooled sugar/coffee mixture. Stir all the ingredients until combined well.
Add 1.75 ml vodka (double batch here) to the mix and combine well.
Bottle and store in a dark cupboard for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. Save your 1.75 ml bottles for this purpose. The end product will be equal to approximately double the amount of vodka used. We may have made this a few times before 🙂 .
We prefer to let this age upwards of six months. The longer it ages, the richer & smoother the end product. Of course, if you feel the urge, taste tests along the way are always allowed 🙂 .
KAHLUA – SUGGESTED USES
There are many ways to enjoy Kahlua. Cocktails are always a hit and here are a few of our favorites.
- On The Rocks with just a splash of half & half or even for the daring a bit of heavy cream
- Sombrero made with milk or cream with an added shot of Kahlua
- Black Russian made with 5 parts vodka and 2 parts Kahlua or coffee liqueur
- White Russian 2 oz vodka, 1 oz Kahlua, 1/2 oz whole milk or cream
- B52 1/2 oz each of Kahlua, Baileys Irish Cream, & Grand Marnier orange liqueur in that order…yummy!
- Expresso Martini combine 1 oz brewed expresso, 1.5 oz vodka, 1.5 oz Kahlua, 1 oz white creme de cocao in shaker with ice
These are just a few of the delicious ways to enjoy Kahlua the adult way 🙂 . Kahlua, however, is versatile in that it can be added to a few culinary dishes as well. Here are a few recipes shared.
- Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Kahlua drizzled on top…a favorite for sure
- Berry Cobbler with Kahlua can be made any time of the year, but especially wonderful during berry season
- Chocolate Kahlua Cake made with cinnamon, cloves, & orange makes this a holiday treat for sure
- Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake with nutmeg & vanilla on a ginger snap crumb crust…yum
- Pan-Seared Ribeye With Kahlua Sauce a quick & easy recipe
- Slow Cooker Kahlua Pork With Sweet Chili Pineapple Sauce recipe creates a “luau in your kitchen”
Making your own Kahlua or coffee liqueur is simple & quick. Whether you make it to enjoy yourselves or give as gifts, it’s sure to be a hit. The challenge is not using it up until Father Time has done his magic 🙂 .
Do you make your own Kahlua already, or just enjoy it? Love for you to share your preferred way of making or using yours! As always, be sure to subscribe to stay up with the latest happenings here on the hill!
Love, Light, & Laughter ~
- 1/5 Vodka
- 2 C Sugar
- 2 C Water
- 6 Tbl Instant Coffee
- 1/4 Boiling Water
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tsp Glycerin
- Mix together sugar & water in a medium size pan
- Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat & simmer for 2-3 minutes
- Add to this 6 Tbl of instant coffee that has been dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water and mix together well.
- Cool to room temperature
- Add 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract and 2 Tsp Glycerin, mix well
- Bottle and store in cupboard for a minimum 3-4 weeks
Allowing the Kahlua to age upwards of 6 months or longer encourages a rich, smooth, and less bitter coffee flavor.
Pardon my ignorance, I didn’t know that Kahlua started in Mexico. I always thought Hawaii…gah afterall this time! 🙂 Thanks for the great info. I’m a fan of martini so this would come in handy.
Yup, Mexico. Hope you give it a try!
Good to know – keeping this recipe in mind as the holidays approach.
Awesome, Tina! Thank you for stopping by to read.
Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared.
Thank you, Marilyn!
OMGosh! This would make an awesome Christmas present! If it lasts that long. HAHA!
Think double batch 🙂 Enjoy!
Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I have already shared this with a couple of my friends and my personal FB page. It sounds amazing. I like the different recipes you listed. All of them sound amazing.
Thank you for sharing, Heather! Hope you enjoy it.
My mom loves kahlua! I’ll ask her if she’s ever made her own. If not I’ll share this with her!
Hope she enjoys it Cindy!
Oh my gosh, definitely trying this ASAP!
Let us know how you like it!
I have got to make one of these recipes soon!
Hope you do, Maria! Let us know how you like it!
Oooh! Yummy! I’ll have to plan ahead and make some for the holidays!
You will not be sorry 🙂
This looks like an amazing challenge! Yum!
No challenge really…simple to make and so worth it!
How cool is that?!! Mmm!
Thanks for sharing. We never thought of making our own and it doesn’t seem very hard.
Truly very easy Candy. Hope you give it a try!
I love this idea for gifts! We made wine for gifts once and everyone LOVED it. I can only imagine how well this would go over! Going to give it a try.
Wonderful, Magan. Be sure to come back and give it a rating and let us know how you like it!
i Have never thought of making homemade kahlua, but it sounds wonderful!!!!
I am not much of a cook, but this is different. This definitely sounds like something I want to make! Looking forward to it.
You won’t be sorry for sure, Margaret! Hope you give it a whirl 🙂
Looks delish and like a great gift idea! What would happen if you made it without the alcohol, I wonder?
Then it wouldn’t be a liqueur, but instead, a coffee-flavored cream.
I love Kahlua and didn’t know you could make it! Thanks for the recipe I’ll definitely have the try this.
Come back and let us know how you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by, Adrienne.
How interesting! I enjoyed reading the process of how this is made. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for stopping by Cindy!
This does look pretty easy! What is the purpose of the glycerin?
It is so easy! The glycerin will add a bit of viscosity to the end product. I am able to purchase wonderful vegetable glycerin from a local source that I trust and have always added it as per our families recipe. Hope you can give it a try!
They were giving infused beignets out with this inside at an event I just attended. I bet yours would be good for that as well.
Ohhh, yum. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this and stopping by, April!
oh my! white russians are one of my favorite holiday drinks – this looks great to make homemade!
Love these ideas. I like making gifts for people so I’ll be adding this to my list!
I put the ingredients on my shopping list and THIS will happen!!! Thanks!
So glad to hear, Karla! Be sure to stop back and give the recipe a rating if you like!
Waiting for our next party to give this a try! 🙂
Be sure if it is your intent to enjoy this at your party to make ahead accordingly 🙂 Thanks for stopping by & reading Rachel!
I enjoyed reading how this was made! It’s crazy it take 7 years to make! Great presentation!
Thank you, Lisa. The seven years does include growing the coffee 🙂
Wow – I would have never thought to make this myself. Over the holidays I make GALLONS of homemade Irish Cream and everyone loves it. We love Kahlua so this will most likely be added to make holiday making plans. I’m pinning it on my boards too – so I don’t forget about it. Thanks for the printable recipe card also!
Glad you enjoyed this, Nikki! Let us know how you like it by stopping back and giving the recipe a rating if you make it.
Great Holiday Gift Idea! Looks Delicious!
Yum, I just pinned this recipe for my holiday gift giving. I am getting so excited about fall and holidays already.
Have a great weekend,’
Hope you enjoy it Kippi! Thanks for reading 🙂
Awesome, thanks so much for this recipe really excited to make some for the holidays!!!
Hope you enjoy it, Angela! Please be sure to stop back & give it a rating if you can 🙂
It looks like a wonderful recipe! Might be my new Christmas gifts to friends 😀
Hope you enjoy it!
Thank you! I will definitely be making this!!
Be sure to come back & give us your rating as to how you like it! Any questions, let me know. Thanks for stopping by Tamera!