Homemade Kahlua

February 28, 2012

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About the only way I drink coffee is with alcohol, which means two things.  #1 I don’t drink coffee everyday :) and #2 I’m going to figure out how to make Kahlua.

On Googling “how to make Kahlua,”  there are many many many  different recipes.  After sifting through the plethora of recipes, comments and reviews I decided it was time to try making my own.  There are four basic ingredients in Kahlua:

  • Some kind of alcohol. The two most popular were vodka and Everclear, although some recipes called for bourbon
  • Some kind of coffee, different variations included brewed, flavored, instant and espresso
  • Vanilla, either vanilla beans or vanilla extract
  •  Sugar, either white or brown

I decided to make three different bottles, combining the recipes that sounded good.

It was easiest for me to tape the ingredients on the outside of the bottle with duct tape and Sharpie.  Once the Kahlua is finished, I will transfer it to a nicer container

I keep my white sugar in mason jars.  I buy in bulk to feed our bees and store it in jars.

I bought my vanilla beans from beanilla.com, great resource for vanilla!

Bottle #1: Everclear, Vanilla Bean, Brewed Chocolate Flavored Coffee, 1/2 & 1/2 white and brown sugar
Bottle #2: Vodka, Vanilla Bean, Brewed Chocolate Flavored Coffee, 1/2 & 1/2 white and brown sugar
Bottle #3: 1/2 Vodka, 1/2 Everclear, Instant Espresso (& water), 1/2 & 1/2 white and brown sugar

When I bought the Everclear I was warned by the clerk not to put it near a flame!  What?!  As I found out, this stuff does smell like rubbing alcohol although more than a few of the recipes and comments I read about making Kahlua, folks were swearing it was a “must,” for homemade Kahlua.

Although some recipes were for immediate drinking, I decided to lay it down for a few months.  I made the test bottles early in January and decided to taste test them this past weekend.  There are no clear winners yet and I believe I still have to mess around with the recipe.  But here are my finding thus far:

  • Yowza!  I will not be using the Everclear again.  Or at least not in the quantity as I did in my first test.  It smells and tastes very potent, and does not seem to be melding into a Kahlua-like flavor.  My question is should I dump the 100% Everclear bottle or try to fix it?  OR I could save it to start fires in our fire pit?
  • The bottle made with vodka is the winner two months into the test.  Now that I know vodka (and it can be the cheap stuff) is the best choice, I”ll be testing different recipes with vodka.
  •  My next two test bottles will be vodka, espresso, brown sugar, vanilla bean(s) and vodka/bourbon, espresso and brewed coffee, brown sugar, vanilla bean(s)
  • Somewhere I found a comment about adding food-grade glycerin to the Kahlua to make it a little thicker.  I am going to pour off some off Bottle #3 into a mason jar and add glycerin to see if I can thicken it a slight bit.

I’ll let you know the results in early summer (or before) :)

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