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Home » Coffee Liqueur Recipe: You MUST Learn How to Make This Classic

Coffee Liqueur Recipe: You MUST Learn How to Make This Classic

You are probably someone who enjoys a great cup of Joe as well as an occasional alcoholic after-dinner treat. So am I. Trust me when I tell you this: you must learn how to make this classic coffee liqueur recipe. It’s a life-changer for people like us!

This recipe guides you through making this sweet and delicious crowd-pleaser. You only need a sweetener, water, vanilla flavouring, coffee, and booze. Impress your guests with homemade coffee liqueur rather than buying Kahlua or Tia Maria from your local store.

Let’s dive into it.

What You Need

  • 3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ vanilla bean, or 1 tbsp flavoured extract
  • 10 tbsp instant coffee, or ½ cup ground coffee
  • 3 cups rum or vodka

At A Glance

Prep Time:

15 minutes


6 cups

Extra Notes:

  • To make this recipe vegan-friendly, use vegan dark brown sugar. White sugar is white because it is refined with bone char from cow bones, and this process is also used with brown sugar, raw sugar, and powdered sugar (1). To be safe, use maple syrup, or agave syrup as a sweetener instead of granulated sugar.
  • Be mindful of the alcoholic content in the alcoholic spirit you choose. Women should not drink more than 45 ml of rum or vodka with a 40% alcohol content in a day, while men should not exceed 90 ml of the same type of drink and its alcohol content per day. Be safe, drink in moderation, and avoid alcoholic drinks entirely if you’re pregnant, lactating, under 18 years old, have certain medical conditions, take medications, struggle with controlling drinking, or are recovering from a disorder related to alcohol use (2).

How To Make Coffee Liqueur

Enjoy coffee liqueur at home with our DIY coffee liqueur recipe. Only 3 steps and 5 coffee liqueur ingredients are needed to make the best coffee liqueur: sweetener, water, vanilla bean, instant coffee, and rum or vodka. It makes for a delicious dessert best enjoyed in the late afternoon.

Coffee liqueur recipe Canada

1. Create Your Simple Syrup

Cut one vanilla bean into halves and use one half. Alternatively, use 1 tbsp of vanilla extract.

Combine 3 cups of granulated white sugar, 3 cups of water, and ½ a vanilla bean or 1 tbsp of a flavoured extract in a small saucepan on medium-high heat. As this is your concoction, feel free to put in as much of each ingredient of your choice as you’d like. Keep an eye out for the sugar.

Once it has dissolved and started boiling, reduce to a simmer for 10 to 30 minutes or until the sugar solution has reduced by half. Then take the saucepan off the heat. You now have your simple syrup. Stir in 10 tbsp of instant coffee and allow this solution to cool.

Pro Tip: If you are using coarsely ground coffee beans – Arabica coffee beans are best here – you could combine coffee with rum first, shaking and storing this mixture as detailed in step 2, then strain it as outlined in step 3, and lastly combine it with the syrup as made in step 1. You can even add some cinnamon here to infuse the coffee with cinnamon flavours. This lets you do most of the prep work in advance and enjoy the final product almost immediately, rather than doing all the work now and waiting a few weeks for the payoff of a delicious rum coffee liquid.

2. Booze It Up

Add your strong coffee flavour syrup with 3 cups of rum in an airtight sealable bottle or mason jar. Shake your container well and allow it to rest in a dark, cool area for 10 to 21 days. Every other day, gently shake the bottle. This way you’ll retain a balanced flavour without diluting the liquid.

Pro Tip:  Keeping your liquid refrigerated is unnecessary, but store it chilled for more of a cold coffee flavour. You could also mix cold brew coffee with your syrup instead of adding instant coffee. The rest of the steps would remain the same afterward.

3. Strain Your Liquid, Store It, & Sip At Your Leisure!

After 10 to 21 days, and testing your liquid every few days after the 10-day mark to see how the taste develops to your liking, strain your liquid through a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, coffee filter, or a fine-mesh strainer.

Straining your liquid removes any extraneous instant coffee granules and any bits of vanilla bean if you added one. Make sure to capture every last drop of your liquid. Store your now-ready treat in a sealed bottle. Mark down the date you finished it so you know when to make more, as it will start to lose its flavour after a few months.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve finished, enjoy your delicious creation over ice, as an alcoholic cold brew coffee, standalone, or add it to one of various coffee cocktails. The Black Russian, for instance, is the best cocktail for your homemade liqueur. To make a Black Russian, add your liqueur and more vodka. A White Russian is similarly a great option. To make a White Russian, add your liqueur along with some heavy cream. For a fancy touch, top your drink with cinnamon or espresso beans for the best presentation.

For tequila fans, realize your coffee and tequila dream by adding liqueur to tequila, soda, and pink grapefruit juice for a Paloma Negra. Check out how to make Tia Maria coffee for a different yet similar recipe style. Look at our Kahlua coffee recipe article for another recipe to make at home with storebought Kahlua.

Final Thoughts

No more shopping for pre-made coffee liqueur brands to make Tia Maria coffee liquor or Kahlua coffee liqueur. Enjoy coffee liqueur drinks your way with a strong coffee flavour in each cocktail. Add heavy creamer if you want to turn your cocktails into White Russian drinks with stronger, sweeter cream flavours and weaker rum flavours. In addition to a White Russian, you could try your concoction in other cocktails, like a Paloma Negra with its more acidic flavour.

If you followed along and liked what you made, share this recipe with your friends and loved ones to spread the joy!


Yes, coffee liqueur can be non-alcoholic. Many options are available for purchase online, including the Gourmet Syrup from DaVinci and the Non-Alcoholic choice from Lyre. There is even a non-alcoholic Kahlua. Each option goes splendidly in coffee, milk, hot chocolate, and other drinks of choice, all featuring a heavenly assortment of tasting notes.

You can use instant coffee, dried espresso, espresso syrup, Bailey’s Irish Cream, almond extract, coffee extract, chocolate extract, chocolate liqueurs, hazelnut liqueurs, crème de cacao, flavoured whiskey, Marsala wine, or more as a coffee liqueur substitute. Depends on what you have!

The difference between Kahlua and Baileys is that Kahlua is a rum-based caffeinated liqueur with a bold coffee taste, whereas Bailey’s is a sweet caffeinated cream liqueur with a whiskey base. Expect different textures and flavour profiles in your final cup, depending on which you use.

  1. Barnett, H. (2018, February 21). 13 Things Vegans Can’t Eat (Even Though They Seem Totally Fine). Retrieved April 6, 2023, from https://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1022029/13-things-vegans-cant-eat/
  2. CDC. (2022, April 19). Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
Dasha Toptygina
I am a writer who delves into all manner of things related to coffee, cats, and characters. I started drinking coffee daily in university and now my entire work, life, and personality all revolve around procuring the perfect brew. I start every morning with yoga, French Press coffee, and some special creative time devoted to working on a magical cat café story... but, more on that later.

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