For as long as I can remember my Dad always had home made coffee liqueur in the house. Although not a heavy drinker it was just a staple. My step moms made it for years and once I was of drinking age I begged for the recipe. Now this is not her variation, (although hers is good too!) This is one I’ve come up with myself. Almost accidentally actually. I went to find the jug of vodka I bought for the sole purpose of becoming coffee liqueur and well… the details are not important. What is important is that I did find ONE JUG of vodka that I turned into two delicious treats. Coffee liqueur that I typically call by the brand name Kahlua, and Amaretto. I’m pretty sure Amaretto is the proper name and not the brand but as usual the naming is un-important. Unless it comes to trademarked goods hence we will go about calling them “liqueurs”. Whats crucial is that you make them right away and never ever spend who knows what a bottle on the other stuff! One $12 jug of vodka allotted me two full bottles of liquors. One 1.75 liter of coffee liqueur and one 1 liter bottle of amaretto. With both of them the longer you let them rest the thicker they will become. The flavor just improves with time.
Every now and then I come across a stash of batches I’d made years ago and I’m alway amazed how much better they get just thickening up a little. There really isn’t any way to explain how delicious coffee liqueur is in a milk shake, or glass of milk. Growing up there was always coffee syrup in the house. Primarily a new england favorite I believe, but now that I’m all grown up I can savor the deliciousness of this recipe and still be thrown back to the taste of coffee milk! Its easy to prepare and very rewarding when you realize just how good it is and how much you WERE spending on the other stuff. The process is the same for both, you can make them all in one day or split it up if one doesn’t particularly strike you as yummy. Recipes follow, Enjoy!
Almond Flavored Liqueur:
2 cups vodka
1 1/4 tablespoons each: vanilla extract and Almond extract
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
In a sauce pan combine sugars and water, stir to combine and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. It could take maybe 5 minutes but be sure not to burn your sugar. Set aside and allow to cool.
In the meantime I combine the vodka with the extracts.
**In the picture to the right, the top picture: On the left is vodka with extracts and on the right is the syrup. Once the syrup is cooled you will combine the two. The final product is pictured bottom right. You might want to add a little water to fill your container all the way, but do not dilute it too much or you will dilute the alcohol and it will not have as much of a shelf life.
Coffee Flavored Liqueur:
1 liter, cheap vodka (or expensive if you insist?)
1/4 cup vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup instant coffee
1 tablespoon instant espresso
This is made in the same manner as the above recipe. You make a syrup by mixing the water, sugar, instant coffee and instant espresso powder. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool fully and combine with vodka and vanilla extract.
**This is pictured in the large jug, bottom right of the picture. If you have a prettier vessel by all means utilize it. I’ve always found that the recipe is almost exactly 1.75 liters and dividing it up results in less than full bottles. You will have a little bit left over that will not fit in the bottle but don’t worry… grab a glass of milk.
For a traditional new england treat like coffee milk you can prepare the syrup above, thicken it a little further but instead of mixing it with vodka only mix it with the vanilla. It will store in the refrigerator for a few months. It can be used in milk shakes, over ice cream or the traditional way, just a few tablespoons in a glass of cold milk.