Homemade Kahlua is so delicious, so easy, and the perfect little gift for most of my friends. This recipe is my mom's. She is the one who introduced me to this liqueur of espresso, sugar and rum. She preferred hers mixed with cream over ice; a rich indulgence. It also pairs beautifully with coffee ice cream, or if you really want some serious sweetness try pouring some over a warm brownie. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? Pour some in your coffee. It's syrup with a kick.
I looked online and it turns out this recipe is posted often so it's not only my mom's. There are variations of this recipe online which use brown sugar instead of granulated, or vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans but this is the only recipe I've tried. Quite often I saw recipes using vodka instead of rum but since the Kahlua sold in stores is made with rum, why switch to vodka? I buy good colorless rum like Bacardi (not flavored rum). It's important to buy good instant coffee, it makes all the difference. Don't skimp and buy poor quality, it just doesn't taste as good. My favorite is Medaglia D' Oro Instant Espresso Coffee. Using instant coffee gives the liqueur an intensely strong coffee flavor.
This batch was made with the company of my darling daughter who took the bottles to give as Christmas gifts for her friends. We bought the bottles and she wrote simple tags. You could get more creative with the packaging and labeling but we just used what we had on hand. I believe this recipe makes approximately 36 oz, our bottles were 6 oz each.
2 cups water
4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup instant espresso coffee granules
2 1/4 cups rum
2 vanilla beans cut into thirds
Boil the water in a pot. Add sugar and instant coffee, stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the rum and stir. Place one piece of the vanilla bean into each bottle then pour the Kahlua into the bottles and seal them. Store them in a cool place for 2-3 weeks to let the vanilla infuse into the liqueur. Remove the vanilla bean by pouring the Kahlua through a strainer and rebottle the liqueur. It is now ready to give to your friends, or crack open a bottle and enjoy it yourself!