Coffee Liqueur. Yes, Coffee Liqueur.

John H.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Updated May 07, 2021

Homemade coffee liqueur is super easy to make and so much tastier than what you can buy in the store! It’s also great for gift-giving, wedding favors, and more. It’s also very versatile, so you can adapt this recipe to use any of our coffees.

For instance, you might like your coffee liquor extra dark and extra daring to use as a topping for French vanilla ice cream or tiramisu. If that’s the case, try making it with our Octane Italian Roast. It’s got a bold, smoky flavor that cuts through sweetness and other flavorings. If you’re after something more floral and delicate for sipping solo, try Ethiopian Sidamo Guji.

The great thing about DIY liqueurs is that you can adjust the type and amount of sweetener, add your own spices or flavorings, or even substitute a decaffeinated coffee! for a treat that won’t keep you awake. As coffee liqueur was invented in Mexico, we like to use coffees from Central America.

What is Coffee Liqueur?

Coffee Liqueur consists of three basic components:
  1. coffee
  2. sweetener
  3. neutral spirit
Often spices or other flavorings are added.

Many recipes start with freeze-dried coffee (Brrrr!) but if you start with so-so coffee, you end up with so-so coffee liqueur. Starting with Fresh Roasted Coffee means great-tasting coffee and absolutely delicious coffee liqueur. For our recipe, you’ll need 4 cups of strong, hot Fresh Roasted Coffee brewed however you normally make your morning cup – though we’ve found that regular drip or French press works best. The flavor is up to you and we encourage experimentation! Put your coffee in a saucepan on low heat.

Sweetener is the next component. White sugar? Light brown sugar? Dark brown? Turbinado? Honey? Agave nectar? Use whatever (or whatever combination) you’d like! You want the equivalent of two cups of sugar in whatever form it takes. Plain white sugar will just add sweetness, while other choices can add depth to your liqueur. Orange blossom honey is an excellent choice to add both sweetness and a mild floral note.

Dissolve the sweetener in the hot Fresh Roasted Coffee. If you wanted to include any other flavorings, add them at this stage. Use a vanilla bean (split down the middle long-ways to make sure you extract all the flavor) or whole spices such as cinnamon or cloves. You could even add coffee syrups here, but since most of them are very sweet, make sure you counteract that by using less sweetener in the prior step.

Winter Warmer (for 2)

  • 4 CUPS Milk
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 3 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 OZ Coffee Liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium for 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with a drizzle of caramel, chocolate, or or finely ground coffee.

Want to Add More Flavor?
Try adding…

cinnamon anise spices
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Cloves
  • Green Cardamom
  • Star Anise Pods
  • Lemon Peel
  • Orange Peel
  • Dark Chocolate

Allow your mixture to cool to room temperature and decant into a large glass jar or bottle with a lid.

Most recipes call for inexpensive, unflavored vodka for the spirit inclusion, but we’ve had excellent results with rum, both clear and dark. (Fun fact - the original recipe from a very well-known company uses rum and coffee beans sourced locally in Veracruz, Mexico!) An adventurous epicurean might also try brandy or a flavored vodka. For this recipe, add two cups of plain vodka. As in all things, adjust to your taste.

Cover with a tight lid and ignore for at least a week. If you can wait an entire month, it will be even better. If you’ve added ingredients that don’t dissolve like citrus peel or spice pods, strain your liqueur through a sieve or cheesecloth before using. Be aware that some spices will continue to add flavor if left in the final rest and may overwhelm other more subtle flavors (We made this mistake with cinnamon sticks).

For a tasty, non-boozy version, substitute spirits with an additional cup of water, an additional cup of coffee, and two tablespoons of non-alcoholic rum extract. Alcohol-free versions should be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within 2 weeks.

Now you’re ready for a better-tasting White Russian, Mudslide, Espresso Martini, or any of a hundred tempting coffee-licious cocktails! If you’re looking for less acidity, consider starting with cold brew and/or coffee from the Indo-Pacific region. For four cups of cold brew, you’ll want to start with five cups of water, into which you’ve added four ounces of coarsely ground coffee. Let steep for at least 12 hours but no longer than 18 hours. Filter your cold brew and heat in a saucepan as above.

Can’t wait 12 hours? Knock it down to eight by brewing in the Hario Cold Brew Coffee Bottle. Its ultra-fine filter lets more coffee flavor out faster!

Have you made your own coffee liqueur? What did you think? Send us your recipes!


FRC Tried & True Combinations:


(Like what you’ve had before - only better)

Spring Fling

(Delicious over ice with a spritz of soda)

Decaf Delight

(For the best White Russian ever!)

Chocolate Cherry

(You won’t believe how good it tastes)

Apples & Spice

(Our take on a fall classic)

Arrosto Italiano

(Absolutely delizioso for martinis!)

1 Comment

  • MK
    Mark K

    I’ve been making this for decades and I use a different recipe. I adapted the recipe my Mom had using freeze dried coffee by using real coffee instead. I normally do a double batch, and end up with a gallon. Put 4 cups of water and 8 cups of sugar in a pot and bring it to a boil. boil for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. make two cups of coffee, with 8 scoops of coffee. Scoops being what used to be included in coffee cans in the before time. I use a Melitta filter holder and pour the coffee over it twice. As this article says, the coffee determines the flavor. If you’re going for standard “Kahlua” use 6 scoops of good coffee and 2 scoops of French Vanilla. If you want Tia Maria, use Jamaican Blue Mountain. Add the coffee to the sugar mixture and bring it to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir until it doesn’t steam and add 1.75 liters of vodka. filter through a yogurt strainer to remove any undissolved sugar or coffee grounds that got into it. It’s ready to d rink immediately but the flavors fully blend within 12 hours. Key trick with the vodka. You don’t have to buy good stuff if there’s a pet store that sells aquarium supplies nearby. Go there and buy some activated charcoal normally put in the aquarium filter. Put that in your Melitta filter holder, with a filter, and pour the vodka through a few times. it will make a big difference.

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