Saturday, November 23, 2013

DIY Homemade Kahlua ~ 3 Versions

Yum
DIY Homemade Kahlua

Spirits of the alcoholic sort aren't usually my thing... however a 2008 Christmas gift of a homemade bottle of Kahlua became a treasure I savored for years.  Rich, sweet and bursting with mocha flavors, this coffee liquor is a fabulous treat over crushed ice, or for me, it's become a holiday baking ingredient I can't live without. 

I'll admit I had never tasted the liquor before my girlfriend gave me a bottle, but polishing off the bottle in a matter of months I begged for another the following Christmas.  Now out of Kahlua again, it's time I learned to make this necessity myself.  And who knew it was so easy?  With only 5 ingredients (including water), Kahlua mixes together in less than 20 minutes and then needs a just a few weeks to infuse with heavenly vanilla to bring it to its full potential.


DIY Homemade Kahlua
A simple internet search brings a plethora of recipes, each bringing its own variance to the table, or shall we say, to the bottle.  White vs. brown sugar, rum vs. vodka, and brewed vs. instant coffee, each variation allows one to bring one's own touch to the concoction, be it traditional or not.

For our first experiment, we decided to keep to the basics - coffee, vodka, granulated sugar and vanilla beans.  My quandary though, became brewed or instant coffee?  Unable to decide, I made batches of both.

Advice from a facebook post on DIY Kahlua brought agreement on one thing in particular... good coffee.   Most responders recommended using the best coffee available, and let me just note here that knowledge of making a good, strong cup of brewed coffee is a plus (and perhaps not my forte...).

As for the alcohol, the general consensus had me using a nice medium grade vodka, not too cheap, but definitely not the top shelf stuff.  And vanilla beans?  I like to use the best, and for me, my one stop shop is Beanilla.  Having used their beans and bottles for our general baking as well as DIY gifts for the last few years, I wouldn't think of using anything else.

DIY Homemade Kahlua
Being somewhat of a traditionalist, my first batch included freshly brewed coffee.  Might I just mention here that my husband is the coffee maker in the house, and my "strong" freshly brewed coffee left much to be desired.  Hence, I found my first batch of Kahlua to be somewhat weak - if you are a good coffee maker though, you may have better luck.

My second batch however, following the Beanilla recipe with instant coffee (we used  Medaglia D'Oro Instant Espresso Coffee), proved to be more traditional and brought a rich, dark coffee liquor immediately begging to be tasted.

Our conclusion to the DIY Kahlua experiment recommends using very strong coffee if you use freshly brewed, or better yet, stick with the majority of the recipes out there and use a premium instant brand for an even stronger result.

Agreeing with our facebook poll we suggest:

~  Good coffee ~
~  Decent Vodka ~
~  Excellent Vanilla ~

DIY Homemade Kahlua


Beanilla's DIY Homemade Kahlua
Fabulous and better than store bought!  This version is perfect for gift giving.  Recipe may be halved, doubled, etc.
Recipe from Beanilla 
Printer Friendly 

2 cups water
3/4 cups instant coffee crystals
2 1/4 cups good quality vodka
4 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean - cut into 1/3's

Mix water, sugar and coffee crystals into a large pot.  Heat and stir until dissolved.  Cool to room temperature.  Add the vodka and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into three 12.5 oz. bottles.  Cut each vanilla bean into 1/3's and drop 1/3 into each bottle.  Cap.  Store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks.  Strain, remove the beans and then re-bottle.

Freshly Brewed Coffee Kahlua
Strong, freshly brewed coffee is the key here... my somewhat weak coffee skills didn't bring the best results.
Printer Friendly

2 1/2 cups very strong, freshly brewed coffee
4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups good quality vodka
1 vanilla bean cut into 1/3's

Add sugar to hot coffee and stir until dissolved.  Cool freshly brewed coffee mixtures to room temperature.  Add the vodka and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into three 12.5 oz. bottles.  Cut each vanilla bean into 1/3's and drop 1/3 into each bottle.  Cap.  Store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks.  Strain, remove the beans and then re-bottle.

"Need it Now" Homemade Kahlua
Adding vanilla extract at the time of brewing makes the Kahlua ready for immediate use.  I found this version to be quite tasty, but not quite a good as the infused version above.
Printer Friendly

DIY Homemade Kahlua
2 cups water
3/4 cups instant coffee crystals
2 1/4 cups good quality vodka
4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix water, sugar and coffee crystals into a large pot.  Heat and stir until dissolved.  Cool to room temperature.  Add the vodka and and vanilla extract and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into three 12.5 oz. bottles. Enjoy immediately.

Liv Life Note:  My internet research turned up numerous Kahlua variations... first off, my next batch will include a teaspoon or two of cocoa nibs for a chocolaty touch.  Also of interest, rum may be used in place of the vodka for a somewhat different combination.  I've yet to try, but this also sounds enticing.

Note... all of our bottles are can be found at Beanilla


coffee beans


ix water, sugar and coffee crystals. Heat and stir until dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Add vodka. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into 6, 12.5 oz. bottles. Cut each vanilla bean into thirds and drop bean into each bottle. Cap. After 2-3 weeks strain, remove beans and rebottle. - See more at: http://www.beanilla.com/blog/homemade-kahlua-recipe#sthash.l2FXOtb7.dpuf
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups instant coffee crystals
  • 4 1/2 cups 100 proof vodka
  • 8 cups sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Mix water, sugar and coffee crystals. Heat and stir until dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Add vodka. Stir to combine. Pour mixture into 6, 12.5 oz. bottles. Cut each vanilla bean into thirds and drop bean into each bottle. Cap. After 2-3 weeks strain, remove beans and rebottle.
Makes the perfect gift!
- See more at: http://www.beanilla.com/blog/homemade-kahlua-recipe#sthash.l2FXOtb7.dpu

56 comments:

  1. I love that you gave us three versions. I so want to make this now. I needed a good homemade gift for the B-I-L.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are my answer to holiday gifts this year... being that it was one of the best things I ever received I figured it was also good to give!

      Delete
  2. I am a pretty big kahlua fan, which, I guess is no surprise. I'm loving your doing all the work of figuring out what works best for us. Thanks for doing that. I especially love the bottles you used. So cute. I'm headed over to look at them now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm loving the bottles too!! Almost don't want to give them away...!!

      Delete
  3. Who would have thought this could be so easy? I'm so glad you've done all the research too! I know it was tough .......... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone's got to do it, Chris... I'm here for you guys...!!! :)

      Delete
  4. Had no idea you could make this at home, what a fantastic recipe! Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had no idea how easy it was either! Wish I hadn't waited to so long to figure it out..!!

      Delete
  5. Wowie, never knew we could make it at home. Love Kahlua, especially during the holidays.
    Great one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We used to make this with instant coffee about 25 years ago! Thanks for reminding me. We used grain alcohol, which really gets you looked on as hard core in the liquor store! Now I want to find one with stevia....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used the grain alcohol last year but I think it's overkill.

      Delete
  7. I am having a devil of a time finding vanilla beans. I made your 1st reciepe and it is day 3 of the 2-3 week process. Can I use vanilla extract in lieu of? If so, how much?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would definitely try the version with a fresh vanilla bean :)!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Where did you get your bottles from?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm assuming the sugar goes in on the second one while the coffee is cooling?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Damon!! I didn't make that very clear, did I? Will make changes to recipe above. I appreciate you asking!!

      Delete
  11. Kim,
    Thank you for your gift of Kahlua. It's wonderful and the bottle is so cute. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post, I am a coffee lover and agree with your way of thinking.Nice Post with information regarding great use! The ways you have illustrated the information is impressive. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The recipe you describe is more like Karsk not Kaluah. Both are wonderful but Kaluah is made with Rum. I made this recipe with Vodka and some moonshine I had around. Its in the refrigerator waiting for the end of the 30 days. I am excited. Thanks for the recipe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is called Kahlua, and I would package it that way (who would know what a bottle of "Karsk" is?
      I am seeing recipes using Vodka, Rum or Grain Alcohol. One of the top NYC bartenders mixes Vodka and Rum. But most recipes use vodka.

      Delete
  14. Even though I have never tasted kahlua but after reading your post, I am sure it will be perfect to savor this Sunday. Thanks for nice post

    ReplyDelete
  15. Remember it should be stored in dark bottles. The cuter the better.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Could you also use vanilla vodka for an extra flavoring?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey I have a few questions for you.
    Since I looked into beanilla I have been overwhelmed by the different vanilla bean choices!

    I was wondering which ones you use? Also have you tried different types and did they change the taste at all? And if you did, which ones do you like and which ones didn't you like?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used madagascar beans for my kahlua... but I think any would work. Yes, they will make variations in the flavors, but I don't think anything would be bad!

      Delete
  18. Is there any reason why you divide it into three containers for the sitting process?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope!! Just the size of the bottles I had on hand. You could put out all in one jar.

      Delete
  19. Just made the first one ( instant coffee) and wow..can hardly wait for the vanilla bean to kick in. I went with the instant coffee cause I really don't know what strong coffee is. I might just have to keep for myself....hohoho

    ReplyDelete
  20. I also used Madagascar beans, I happen to buy one lb cause I made vanilla bean flavoring with vodka for my coworkers. I plan on going to the goodwill to look for some interesting bottles for my Kahlua. I did put in three bottles and used one whole bean per bottle.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If I wanted to make a huge batch of the beanilla one, do you think I should still separate it into 12.5 oz bottles or can I just throw it in a huge vat with cut up vanilla beans?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi,

    These are great recipes. I make the one using freshly brewed coffee and, like you, made the coffee too weak the first couple of tries. I'm not a coffee drinker, but my mother-in-law brought me some coffee from France to cook with. I added a cinnamon stick to the last batch I made and thought it was great. So perfect for the holiday season. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. P.S. I use about 3 and 1/4-1/2 tablespoons to 2 1/2 cup of coffee, but every coffee strength/flavor is different.

    ReplyDelete
  24. just had a hot chocolate with Kahlua and peppermint flavor (It came like that from LCBO) I am going to try this combo for the Christmas holidays

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm going to make this with cold brewed coffee. It's simple to make. Just add 2/3 cup coffee grounds to 3 cups water and let steep at room temperature for at least 8 hours ( I like to let mine steep for 24 hours in mason jars). I then put a coffee filter in my coffee maker and pour the contents of the jar into the filter to strain the grounds. I use one filter for each jar. You get a rich, smooth, strong coffee without the bitterness from hot brewing and, it tastes great even with store brand coffee. I usually make iced mocha coffee this way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds amazing!! I think you are a far better coffee maker than I, and I'm going to follow your directions to a T!

      Delete
  26. Thank you! What is the shelf life for your kalua?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for a lovely gift for Me! For some reason, using the second recipe, I yielded about 66oz of Kahlua? Now I may have cheated a smidgen on the vodka, i used 2 1/2 cups. In the end I filled five 12oz mason jars and a half of one. I'm curious if you have had anyone else have this happen? I only used the beans in three of the jars. The others I used a very high quality extract and it taste great! So I'll enjoy it while I wait for the others to infuse. Yay me!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am not a big alcohol drinker but must confess that I get very excited over Kahlua & Irish Cream. Making them homemade is even better that stuff is expensive. I already have some bottles so am gonna get to making these for gifts for my friends. I have already made some homemade vanilla for the bakers I know. Thx for the tips & I am with Kim. I get to where I am hesitant to give them away.

    ReplyDelete
  29. OK. So I just made this recipe but doubled it (clicked on link to Beanilla website). I double and triple checked quantities but was way over. I filled 7 375 ml bottles, plus one pint mason jar. The recipe says it will fill 6, 12.5 oz bottles. Can anybody help? Without the sugar and coffee there are 68 oz of liquid so it kind of makes sense. Giving these away as gifts and don't want to screw them up. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love this! Definitely need to try this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Can you substitute with decaf coffee??

    ReplyDelete
  32. my sister makes kahlua every holiday too - I made my own last year, SO good! and yes, I agree on the GOOD coffee, and mine is a vodka version too.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've made this before, and it is absolutely true that the smallest variatikn with any ingredientor amount of any one ingredient, can and will change the flavor. Some will notice and some won't... but they will all still want more !!.

    One thing that I have always done, is to add a half can of Hershey's chocolate sauce to a regular sized batch. The end result is phenominal !!!
    ...just my 2 cents.

    Jayson in Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh! Love the addition of the chocolate!! Excellent idea.

      Delete
  34. I made the first version and it's almost been three weeks. However, there is a lot of crystallization on the bottom and sides of the jar. Did I do something wrong? The beans have also all been encased in the bottom. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow!! I've never heard of that. I have a jar that is over 6 months old from that recipe and no crystallization. I don't know what to say! I will do some searches and see if I can find anything....

      Delete
    2. Here's an article I found, but it relates to "old" Kailua. I think if I were you I would start over just to be safe. Make sure bottles are clean, and all sugar and coffee dissolved. Maybe even bring to a simmer to make safe, then cool and proceed from there!

      "Kahlua will settle after a while, and though this doesn’t indicate spoilage, it does mean that the flavor has likely changed a bit. You can mix the drink back together by gently tipping the bottle upside down a few times before serving – just be sure it’s tightly sealed! Sugar crystals forming on the edge of the bottle are another sign that the Kahlua may have seen better days, though it’s still likely safe to drink."

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I don't understand since my bottles were new and clean when I made this. I followed instructions to the tee, but the crystals started forming days after I bottled it. I don't understand :(

      Delete
    4. I'm so sorry Sarah... I don't understand either. I couldn't find much online that talked about it either! You know what... let me try emailing Beanilla and see what they say!

      Delete
    5. Ok... they are emailed. I will post back if they respond!!

      Delete
    6. Sarah... here's the response from Beanilla!

      "Hello Kim,
      Thank you for your email, I am thinking that these crystals are sugar reforming from not being boiled long enough or storing it in a warm place. We sometimes see the vanilla beans form crystals from their own sugars, which can be wiped off.
      The Kahlua is not bad, the alcohol will keep anything from going bad, she can strain it into a clean bottle and store in a cool dry place.
      I hope this gives you some kind of an answer, we have not had that question asked here. "

      Delete

Your comments make our hearts sing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...