By Michelle Fish

Dark and sweet, brimming with the delicious flavor of coffee, Kahlua and sometimes its cousin, Tia Maria, were staples in my parents liquor cabinet. At dinner parties and special occasions, out they’d come. Maybe mixed with espresso, or maybe served as a mixed drink with vodka and cream (White Russian), or with Bailey’s (Mudslide.)

I’d never really given much thought to coffee liquor until last summer, when a friend of ours gave us some he had made in his kitchen. It was a revelation! One taste, and we realized that the brands we thought we knew and loved tasted a whole lot more like cough syrup than the magic elixir our friend had made.

So we set out to invent our own recipe. Bob did hours of research on the interwebs, and I did lots of quality control tastings. Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it.

And finally we came up with what we think is the perfect recipe. The best thing about it is that it’s very tweakable… you can adjust it to your own taste. And it’s fun to make!

We saved a little for ourselves from our first batch, but mostly, we gave them away as gifts to people in our world. I recommend you plan on at least keeping SOME for yourself. You won’t regret it. This ain’t your momma’s Kahlua!


For the Rum Infusion:

800 Ml Rum, preferably Amber (we used Freshwater Rum from New Holland Brewing)
1 Vanilla Bean
1 Tbs Cocoa Nibs
1/4 Stick Cinnamon
10 Golden Raisins
1 Dried Apricot (sliced)
10 Coffee Beans (we used Living Hope Ubumi from BIGGBY Coffee)
4 Hazelnuts
10 Peppercorns
3 Allspice Berries
1 Shaving of Nutmeg
1″ Slice of Orange Peel/Zest


2 Ball Jars (4 Cup)
Mortar & Pestle
Paring Knife
Vegetable Peeler
Cutting Board
Coffee Filters

For the Coffee Syrup:

750 Ml Water
900 Ml Sugar
900 Ml Ground Coffee (we used Living Hope Ubumi from BIGGBY Coffee)


2 Ball Jars (4 Cup)
Cheese Cloth
Coffee Filters
1 Medium Pot
1 Whisk
1 Spatula
2 Medium Bowls

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