A little over two years ago I decided to take on a big project of making different kinds of coffee liqueur.  It has been a constant item in my pantry ever since. I love Kahlua and figured that since there were so many recipes out there I should experiment myself.  Out of that experiment I found my favorite recipe and made a few changes so here it is.

Sweet Home Kahlua
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
1/4 cups instant coffee granules
6 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
3 cups vodka
2 vanilla beans
2 empty 750ml wine bottles
2 expansion stopper

1. In a large pot, dissolve sugar into water over medium-high heat.
2. Add instant coffee granules and bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.
3. Stir every 10-15 minutes as needed for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Mixture will be reduced to liquid syrup. Stay close by at the end since you will have stir more frequently.
4. Remove from heat and allow cooling for 5 minutes.
5. Stir in 3 tablespoons vanilla extract and let cool another 15 – 30 minutes.
6. Stir in vodka.
7. Split your vanilla beans lengthwise and drop them into the bottles.
8. Use a funnel to fill your bottles and let stand for an hour.
9. Add 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract to each bottle.
10. Let liqueur sit in a cool dark place for at least 30 days and shake sealed bottle every day.  The longer it sits the better.

Note:  If the mixture has crystallized, the vodka will break it down if it is still partially liquid. But if it gets too cool the syrup will harden so you will have to reheat the syrup and add vodka when it’s cooled again. Be careful! Don’t let it get too cool again!

Note: I ordered my bottles and stoppers through Quality Wine and Ale Supply.  Fast shipping, great pricing and awesome customer service!

Adapted from K is for Kahlua (sorry, the site is no longer up).

Kahlua from Wee Folk Art was a very close second. It didn’t win out since it seemed to be so much sweeter than the others which would allow me to only use it in sweet treats.  I use coffee liqueur in several types dishes so that  limited me a bit.  But it gets great use in milk!

Coffee Liqueur (sorry, the site is no longer up) from Boulderlocavore hit third on because it had to sit for almost 6 months before the flavors merged or settled enough to be close to Kahlua.  But the wait is worth it.

Homemade Kahlua from Yumsugar and Better than Kahlua Coffee Liqueur from Creative-Culinary came in last due to the very bitter taste.  I did use the orange peel in the Homemade Kahlua so that may have soured the taste.  That was also the only one that did not have to be cooked so that could have had something to do with it too.  I can only guess that the chocolate liqueur messed with the taste in the Better than Kahlua recipe since it was quite bitter itself.