Recipe: How to Make DIY Coffee Liqueur at Home

created at: 11/12/2012

All this week, ManMade is excited to be teaming up with America’s Test Kitchen to share lots of cool, DIY food crafts and ideas, any which would make an excellent weekend project or a great handmade holiday gift for your family and friends.

created at: 11/12/2012

I’m not advocating for spiking your morning coffee every weekday, but if you have a bottle of this smoky, brandy-spiked liqueur about this winter, I’ll understand the temptation. (And the occassional indulgence…we won’t tell.) This is one of those projects that’s worth scaling up – It’ll last for at least six months, and a little goes a long way, so there will be plenty to share with your friends and family. Start now, and it’ll be ready in time for Christmas. Or, use it to make one of my favorite coffee cocktails, the Cafe Tacuba: a blend of hot coffee, tequila, coffee liqueur, and a bit of cream.

Recipe: Makes 4 cups
Start today, enjoy in 1 to 2 months

  • 1 1⁄3 cups sugar 
  • 1 1⁄4 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa 
  • 1 1⁄3 cups vodka
  • 2⁄3 cup brandy
  • 2 vanilla beans 

Step One: Heat sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in espresso powder and cocoa, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to boil. Off heat, stir in vodka and brandy.

created at: 11/12/2012

Step Two: Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise and place in 1-quart glass jar or bottle with tight-fitting lid. Pour liqueur mixture into jar with beans. Let mixture steep in cool, dark place until mellowed, 1 to 2 months, shaking jar to redistribute mixture once a week. Coffee liqueur can be stored at room temperature for at least 6 months. It will continue to mellow with age.

Elizabeth Carduff of America’s Test Kitchen says, “For gifts and long- term storage, I like to transfer the liqueur to bottles. A White Russian (a potent elixir of vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream) is probably the most common beverage choice using coffee liqueur, but it is also great on the rocks, drizzled over ice cream, or simply stirred into a cup of coffee for an indulgent pick-me-up.”

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Recipe by Elizabeth Carduff. Photos by Anthony Tieuli.