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12 Days of Edible Gifts: Homemade Kahlua

The Secret to Making Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur at Home

Did you know you can make your own version of Kahlúa at home? It takes three weeks for the coffee beans to infuse the vodka and rum mixture, so you'll want to prepare this ahead of time if you plan to use or give it as a gift.

What most don't realize is that the best bartenders are busy mixing up everything from homemade Baileys to fresh grenadine. The techniques they use to make these superior mixers are easily adaptable for the home.

A few weeks ago when I decided to make this, I spoke with San Francisco star bartender Scott Baird. Although most recipes call for simply a clear spirit like vodka or light rum, Baird insists on a mixture of vodka and dark rum for a rich flavor and thick syrup-like liquid.

Homemade Kahlúa

Homemade Kahlúa

Kahlua Recipe


  1. 1 (750 ml) bottle vodka or white rum
  2. 1 1/4 cups dark rum, like Pampero
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  4. 3/4 pound whole coffee beans
  5. 1 vanilla bean
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs, optional
  8. 1 slice of orange peel, optional


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a sealable container. Shake hard to combine.
  2. Label with the date and let sit in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Shake or stir the mixture several times of week.
  3. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a clean vessel. Use like you would Kahlua or any other coffee liquor.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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