When I was 13 years old, one of my parents’ friends gave them a bottle of homemade coffee liqueur. I remember my dad being particularly pleased with its arrival. His favorite way to eat it was to stream a generous pour over several scoops of vanilla ice cream. Once in a great while, he’d let me have the tiniest taste. I though it was heaven. I’ve always been some of a fiend for sweet, coffee-flavored things.
Last year, Molly posted a recipe for Coffee Vanilla Bean Liqueur and I took note. I never got around to making it then (writing a cookbook means that you don’t get to many of the recipes that look appealing) and this year I was committed to mixing up a batch.
Yesterday, I bought a bottle of inexpensive vodka and today, I spent ten minutes putting my batch of coffee liqueur (also known in some circles as Kahlua) together.
I combined 3 cups granulated white sugar with 2 cups water and heated until the sugar was dissolved. Next I added 3/4 cup instant espresso (this is actually an ingredient I try to keep on hand, as it is an easy way to add high quality coffee flavor to a variety of baked goods) and whisked vigorously until it was fully dissolved. Once all the little grains of coffee are gone, remove the pot from the heat.
I split and scraped 3 vanilla beans (Molly’s original recipe only calls for two, but three fell out of the bag, so I took it as an omen) and stirred the seeds into the sweetened coffee slurry. Finally, I added 3 cups vodka and whisked to combine.
I funneled the nascent coffee liqueur into a 1/2 gallon jar, dropped in the vanilla bean pods and capped it. I hear it needs to sit for at least three weeks, though four to six is even better. I’ll be away for Christmas, but hope to crack the jar for a few friends on New Year’s Eve, which means I’ve just squeaked under the wire as far as starting the batch goes.
If you’re feeling like it’s too late to make something like this for holiday giving, I firmly believe that there’s nothing wrong with giving someone a jar of homemade liqueur that has a note, instructing them not to open it until the first or second week of January. Think of it as a holiday season extension. Who wouldn’t like that?