The best homemade coffee liqueur

The best homemade coffee liqueur

Celebrating the festivities over winter, a go-to cocktail is an espresso martini! Using coffee liqueur as a base for cocktails doesn’t get much better! So here is an easy recipe to make homemade coffee liqueur in just 10 minutes! A copy of Kahlua or Tia Maria. This delicious infusion is perfect to make ahead using simply home brewed coffee, vanilla and vodka.

The best homemade coffee liqueur - Kalhua substitute
Homemade Coffee Liqueur with Irish Whiskey Cream

Coffee Liqueur Cocktails

Firstly, this delicious liqueur can be drank neat, serve it chilled and it’s the perfect winter evening tipple. This also makes a great base of cocktail. I find there are so coffee liqueur cocktails out there!

Signature & coffee liqueur based cocktails

Espresso martini; 2 parts vodka, 1 part coffee liqueur, 1 part espresso.

White Russian; 2 parts vodka, 1 part coffee liqueur, 1 part heavy cream

Black Russian; 2 parts vodka, 1 part coffee liqueur

Mudslide Cocktail; 2 parts vodka, 1 part coffee liqueur, 1 part Irish cream liqueur

Dangerously Dark & Stormy; 1 part rum, 1 part tequila, 1 part coffee liqueur topped with ginger beer

Mind Eraser; 2 parts vodka, 2 parts coffee liqueur topped with soda

Dalgona coffee; make an espresso martini (above), then whip equal parts granulated sugar & instant coffee with boiling water to make the foam and combine with the martini.

Creamy Coffee Liqueur; equal parts coffee liqueur and Irish whiskey cream.

More kahlua coffee liqueur recipes ideas, add a shot into mug of homemade hot cocoa with some oat milk! Or get adventurous with baking & make a boozy coffee cake!

Ingredients used for Coffee Liqueur

& recipe substitutes

The base of this is coffee, so it is best to use your best quality coffee full of caffeine! I recommend using 4 fresh espresso shots as this draws out the strongest most concentrated part of the coffee.

If you are being really particular, scrape & discard the coffee crema from the mix. From my barista training, I learnt that the crema on top of coffee shows the coffee is fresh however it actually gives a dry and ashy taste, so should be scraped away to enhance the coffee flavour.

The fresh coffee gets mixed with the sugar, using hot coffee encourages the sugar to dissolve, which means you can use the liqueur immediately! However, if you use a cold brew coffee & the sugar hasn’t dissolved, it is no problem! The sugar will just needs a few days in the infusion before using. For this, add the rest of your ingredients and seal. Every day or so give the bottle a shake. You will be able to visibly see when the sugar is dissolved and then it is ready to drink.

The sugar content in this homemade coffee liqueur is considerably lower than in store bought Kahlua.

The sugar count in this homemade coffee liqueur is lower than store bought Kahlua which contains 33g per serving. The below recipe is just over 20g. Options for a sugar free liqueur, replace the sugar with a substitute like stevia, or use 2 tbsp of either maple syrup or agave syrup!

Vanilla gives a delicious flavour to this drink, I use extract but a whole vanilla bean scraped out works wonderfully for a vanilla kahlua recipe.

Finally add in your alcohol, I used vodka as I much prefer the taste. However, traditional Kahlua recipes use rum. So whichever is your preferred the quantities in the recipe remain the same.

This recipe is vegan friendly & gluten free.

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Homemade Coffee Liqueur questions

How long does homemade coffee liqueur last? This will last you well over a year! They say it can last up to 4 years (I’ve never been able to resist drinking it for that long!). It won’t go rancid or spoil if kept for longer however will start to decline in flavour.

Where to store homemade coffee liqueur? The best place is in a dry, dark spot, away from direct sunlight. Once opening, make sure the lid is tightly sealed after use. It doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge (I sometimes do put it in before drinking as it is best served chilled).

The difference between Tia Maria vs Kahlua?

These two coffee based liqueurs are created using the same ingredients; traditionally they are both infusions of coffee, rum, sugar and vanilla. The taste of both is different and this is due to the quantities of ingredients and the rum. Tia Maria originates from Jamaica whereas Kahlua is from Mexican. Comparing both visually, Tia Maria is noticeably thinner whereas Kahlua has a more syrupy thickness coming from the higher sugar content. Tia Maria is lighter and a stronger vanilla taste and actually a higher alcohol percentage.

Christmas Hamper Gifting

This gift is also perfect for Christmas gifting for the coffee lovers. Bottle & label and add to a Christmas foodie hamper to gift your loved one this year!

For more gifting inspiration, check out our Christmas Hamper ideas which is full of non-perishable Christmas recipes.

Christmas Hamper gifting ideas
home brew coffee liqueur

How to make Coffee Liqueur

This delicious home brew coffee liqueur is perfect to make & store in the cupboard ready as a coffee cocktail base. This recipe is a copy cat of Kahlua & Tia Maria. Substitute the vodka for rum if preferred
Prep Time 10 mins
Infusion Time (optional) 7 d
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 350 ml
Calories 135 kcal


  • 100 g Sugar
  • 120 ml Strong Freshly Brewed Coffee 4 x espresso shots
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract (or seeds from 1 bean)
  • 120 ml Vodka (or sub for Rum)


  • First, add you sugar into a bowl or container and pour in the hot fresh coffee. Mix well to encourage all the sugar to dissolve.
  • Leave to cool before adding the vanilla and alcohol, stir to combine, seal in an airtight container of bottle
  • You can drink this immediately and it tastes delicious however I try to leave it for a week or so to infuse before using.
  • This will last you well over a year! It won't go rancid or spoil if kept for longer however will start to decline in flavour.



*You can substitute the vodka for rum if preferred!
*If the sugar doesn’t dissolve or you are using cold brew coffee, then it’s also fine it just might need an extra day or two to dissolve when infusing.
*Nutritional information & calorie count is based on 70ml suggested serving size.
Keyword coffee, infused, liqueur, rum, vodka

Did you try this recipe? Let us know in the comments below!


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