Homemade Coffee Liqueur

This super quick and easy recipe for a DIY coffee liqueur is great for gift giving or to make as a treat for yourself.  You can control the alcohol and sugar content by making yourself.  It is also less syrupy than what you buy in the liquor store.

I love using coffee liqueur in a White Russian cocktail, an espresso martini, or in desserts.  Okay yes, I’ll admit it.  I have poured a shot of it over ice cream.  It’s delicious.  Don’t judge.  But my go-to evening nightcap will always be the White Russian cocktail.  It is sweet, soothing, and feels perfect just before retiring for the night.

Shot glasses of homemade coffee liqueur with coffee beans on the table.

Because this homemade coffee liqueur has only four ingredients, you want to use the best quality ingredients you can.  Use really good quality coffee.  This is the source of the flavor.  Also, use a quality vanilla bean paste.  If you are in a pinch, you could use vanilla extract, but the paste has a richer, deeper flavor.

Glasses of homemade coffee liqueur
Coffee and cream liqueur, coffee beans roasted and ground coffee on the old wooden background, selective focus

As for the alcohol, traditionally, Kahlua is made with rum.  I have made this recipe using a white rum, and it was very good.  But, to reduce the sugar and carb content a little bit, I like using vodka.

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Shot glasses of homemade coffee liqueur with coffee beans on the table.



A quick and easy recipe for a coffee liqueur that you can customize for alcohol content, flavor and sweetness. Enjoy this as a treat for yourself or as a gift for those you love.


  • 4 cups strong brewed coffee. Choose a quality coffee that you love. This is the source of flavor.
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla bean paste (can use extract in a pinch)
  • 4 cups vodka or white rum


  1. Make the coffee simple syrup. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the coffee and sugar to a full rolling boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Stir in vanilla and vodka. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour your kahlua into a clean bottle with a tight lid. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.


This coffee liqueur will maintain its freshness, flavor, and potency for a really long time – about 3-4 years. Trust me. It will NOT last this long.


  • Serving Size: 1

Need a few more cocktail suggestions?  May I suggest the following:

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