Guys, this recipe is good. I mean really good.
I was gifted a delicious bottle of homemade Kahlua last year, and ever since I’ve been meaning to learn how to make this sweet & cinnamony coffee-flavored liqueur.
Best made into a White Russian (Kahlua + vodka + cream or half & half). Cream + coffee + rum + cinnamon + sugar, I don’t know what flavor combination gets much better than that, especially this time of the year!
When I began searching for Kahlua recipes online, I came across too many to count – and too many variations that all sounded delicious. So in the spirit of trying something new, I created my own using my favorite mix of ingredients from several recipes around the web.
~1 liter bottle of rum (you might use a bit less depending on the size of your final bottles)
1-2 c water
2 c sugar
1 lb whole coffee beans
Rind of half of an orange
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole vanilla beans (cut and split)
Fill each bottle by splitting the ingredients evenly amongst the bottles you’re using – for example, each of my smaller 16oz bottles received roughly 1/2 a vanilla bean, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, 2 orange rind slices, 1/3 lb coffee beans, 2/3 c sugar, ~2/3 c water and ~5-6oz rum.
I used the end of a wooden spoon to help mix all together.
(The above photo is before all of the rum was added).
Then seal and store your bottles in a dark place, shaking ingredients 1-2 times a week for 2-3 weeks. The longer they sit, the more delicious they get!
When they emerge, they should be a beautiful amber color.
You could strain out the coffee beans, cinnamon stick, vanilla and orange for a pure liquid:
But I actually liked the look of some of the whole ingredients left in the bottle (plus it will continue to marinate in the cupboard of your giftee). And the floating beans makes for a pretty addition to that above mentioned White Russian.
Label your bottles with hang tags or sticker labels (I used shipping label sticker paper for mine). Here’s the download if you’d like to use it (remember to use the link and NOT the image below – that’s a low quality version just for looks). The red in these labels will be a much stronger cranberry red on regular paper and a darker, mulberry red when printed on sticker paper.
I ended up rounding the black corners after cutting these out, too. I think it gives a nice, polished look. You could also sign your name under the dotted line after ‘Merry Christmas’ to personalize it.
So that is the easiest way to make this delicious drink! But I will share with you one more variation that – if you have time – will make it a bit sweeter.
As I began experimenting with this recipe, I actually tried creating a simple syrup first out of all of the ingredients.
Here’s how that’s done: bring all ingredients (with exception of alcohol) to a simmer in a sauce pan. Cook down the simple syrup until it’s about the consistency of light cough syrup (that’s a bad description – maybe a very watery honey sounds prettier?).
Fill up your glass bottles halfway with alcohol and then add this new simple syrup as well (with all of the whole ingredients, aka coffee beans, cinnamon sticks, orange rinds, vanilla beans) and put into pantry.
This time the infusion will start out a bit darker, and will continue to get cloudier over the next couple of weeks.
We did a taste test between the two and I preferred the sweeter, slightly spicier version of the Kahlua better (made with the simple syrup), but Kevin and my mom opted for the more recognizable taste of traditional Kahlua from the first batch.
Either way – you’ll love the result! This really is a delicious recipe.