Coffee Liqueur

At this point I am pretty aware that I am going down a slippery (and very boozy boozy) slope on this blog. Regardless of the time I am posting this (well, who am I to judge, I am almost off on a holiday to Jamaica, I can be a rum-boozed pirate if I want to), this is not just another drink.
This is coffee liqueur. The kind of drink that your parents would like, or your friends in a good cup of hot chocolate, in a chocolate mousse dessert, mixed into your cake batter or to make this amazing coffee ice cream.

The really nice thing about this liqueur that it has an intense coffee flavor, and you can adjust the sweetness (and the kind of sweetener) to your own liking. The coffee beans are simply submerged in the vodka and it is almost like a cold-brew. There is no bitternes, but just a very clear and pleasant coffee taste. I have made this liqueur with both brown rock sugar (kandijsuiker) and with caramalised sugar syrup. I prefer the latter one as it softened the strong coffee taste a little (it all dilutes a little due to the syrup), but I would say it all depends on your liking.

Making vanilla essence has been a real revelation to me, namely that every liqueur is simply a clear liquor (often vodka, gin or rum), infused with other aromatic ingredients.
So it is completely up to you whether you infuse your alcohol with vanilla beans, coffee beans, rosemary, thymian, star anise, cinnamon, orange peel, lemons or chili peppers, it will turn out as a great carrier of your preferred flavor.

Considering the coffee beans need quite some time to release their flavor, I recommend to let it mature for at least four weeks, preferrably six weeks.

Coffee liqueur

  • 750 milliliters of good quality vodka (a minimum of 40% alcohol indicates a good filtering and destillation, and yes this is often not the case with well-known brands)
  • 200 grams of dark roasted coffee beans
  • 200 grams of dark sugar, palm sugar, or a caramel syrup made of 200 grams plain sugar*
  • a large glass bottle
  • optionally: orange peel (unwaxed), cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean

Dissolve the sugar in 200 milliliters of water by heating it through.
Pour this carefully into a large glass or plastic bottle (make sure the sugar syrup has cooled down properly to make sure the bottle will not melt itself) and pop in the coffee beans.
Your patience will be tested as you will have to get all the beans into (the narrow opening of) the bottle. Pour the vodka on top and, in case you would like to, add some vanilla, orange peel or cinnamon stick to it.
Close the bottle and shake thoroughly. Store the bottle in a dark and fairly cool cupboard in your kitchen and shake from time to time.

*Caramel syrup is made by heating 200 grams of granulated sugar in a dry pan, until it melts and browns to the point it is turning a beautiful amber color. Please be careful as the sugar burns easily, in case you are not very familiar with making caramel, just take it slow with a low heat and use this instruction for example (leave the cream and butter out though). Add 200 grams of water to the caramalised sugar. The sugar heats up to a really high temperature, so please be careful when doing this as it might splatter. The sugar will harden again as a reaction to the cold water, so take a bit of time to heat everything through again to dissolve the sugar in the water. After that your syrup is ready.

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