Homemade Kahlua

You can make coffee liqueur, a sweet coffee-flavored beverage, at home. Homemade Kahlua is perfect for cocktails, to give a special gift, or as a drink to savor. It is easy to make with a few simple ingredients. You may wonder does homemade Kahlua taste as good as store bought, that answer is yet, in fact, you might even think it tastes better.

a glass of homemade Kahlua and ice

Learn about Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

Kahlua coffee liqueur is a sweet, rich, coffee-flavored drink you can easily make at home. My homemade Kahlua recipe is just the perfect thing for an after-dinner tipple. You can just savor it with your family or also use it to make wonderful gifts. Just pour it into bottles and dress it up with pretty ribbons. Enjoy this liquor from Mexico even more when you make it.

What is Kahlua?

Any bar will have a bottle of Kahlua. It’s one of the ingredients in the popular White Russian cocktail. Because of this, you might think that Kahlua originated in Russia.

You also might think that Kahlua is made in the Middle East because the name Kahlua comes from the word kahwa, which is an Arabic slang word for coffee.

But, no – this coffee-flavored liqueur is Mexican. Kahlua is a wonderful mix of coffee, rum, corn syrup, and vanilla beans (one more traditional Mexican ingredients).

How is Traditional Kahlua Made?

Before being used to make Kahlua, the coffee beans are dried, de-husked, and allowed to age for about six months before they are roasted, ground up, and brewed.

The sugar cane used in the Kahlua is harvested, crushed, juiced, and then reduced to form molasses.

Yeast and water are added to the cane to ferment the mixture and produce the alcohol content in Kahlua. The cane spirit is combined with the coffee, vanilla, and caramel and allowed to rest for eight weeks before being filtered, bottled, and sent out into the world of delighted drinkers.

Kahlua is consumed at a rate of two million cases a year in 150 countries around the world.

The authentic Kahlua recipe is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and why Kahlua is expensive to buy. The good news is you can make homemade coffee liqueur for a fraction of the cost of Kahlua.

What Drinks can You Make with Kahlua?

There are many drinks that feature Kahlua. Here are just two examples:

  • Mind Eraser – Fill a glass with ice to the brim. Add Kahlua and vodka then top off with club soda. Don’t stir this is a drink that should have layers.
  • Black Russian – Fill a glass with ice. Add one part Kahlua and two parts vodka. Mix and garnish with a cherry on top.
  • Kahlua and Cream – Simply fill a glass with ice, and add about 1 or 2 ounces of Kahlua and fill the rest with half and half.

Also, consider pouring some aged Kahlua over ice cream – it’s like coffee candy!

Homemade Kahlua Coffee Liqueur Ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Instant Coffee
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Rum (I have also used Vodka, and some people use Everclear)

The combination of sugar, coffee, vanilla, and vodka is what makes this the best Kahlua recipe. Its deep, rich savory flavor is balanced with the right amount of sweetness.

How to Make Coffee Liqueur

  1. Combine hot water, sugar, instant coffee, and vanilla flavoring. Stir until sugar is dissolved completely.
  2. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. Add vodka and stir to combine.
  4. Use immediately or store in a sealed glass container.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most commonly asked questions about homemade coffee liqueur:

How long does homemade Kahlua last?

Homemade Kahlua will last for about 3 years.

Does Homemade Kahlua go bad?

Homemade Kahlua will decline in quality over time. Although it may not spoil with growing mold or becoming rancid, it should be consumed or used within 3 years of being made. You do not need to store this in a fridge. You can store it in a cool dark place.

Should homemade Kahlua be refrigerated?

It is not necessary to refrigerate homemade Kahlua. Store coffee liqueur in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark area and away from direct sunlight or exposure to heat.

Glass of Kahlua and ice

Cheers to these cocktails!

Use Kahlua in baking this Sara Lee Brownie Recipe.

Find more recipes for drinks and tasty dessert recipes.

homemade Kahlua coffee liqueur in a glass and bottle.

Homemade Kahlua

Life is good, and so is this coffee liqueur. This homemade Kahula keeps well and gets better with age. The longer it ages, the thicker and more syrupy it gets.
5 from 5 votes
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: Coffee Liqueur, Homemade Kahlua, Kahlua
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 32
Calories: 49kcal


  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring (not extract)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 1/4 cups rum


  • Combine the coffee, sugar, vanilla, and water, and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
  • Set aside to cool (otherwise, you will evaporate the alcohol).
  • Mix in the rum.
  • Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark, dry place and away from direct sunlight or exposure to heat.



Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 0mg | Potassium: 5mg | Sugar: 12g | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Shaz

    I modified the recipe by exchanging 2 cups sugar into 1 cup dark brown sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. I always double vanilla (from advice from my childhood neighbor, a home economics teacher.) I also added an extra teaspoon of coffee. The changes made a big difference. Although it isn’t exactly Kahlua, it is affordable and very easy to make. I LOVE Kahlua but at $16.99 per bottle, I can not afford to drink it as much as I want. This recipe can be made in a short time. It is WAY cheaper than buying the brand name. I have not tried to “age” the mixture. Another recipe calls for adding a vanilla bean and setting the mixture in a cool dark place and letting it age for 5 weeks. I have this alternative recipe brewing in my closet.

  2. 420

    White Russians are not from Russia either. There is a Black Russian and a White Russian that came after. Both drinks are only have the name “Russian” because they’re made using Vodka. The closest origin to both drinks is tied to a Belgian bartender, his sister being responsible for the White Russian.

  3. Thomas

    5 stars
    I was pretty skeptical about this recipe, but I did a blind taste test, and this recipe came up great. No one was the wiser when I served this.

  4. Anonymous

    Sounds like not enough coffee flavor. Here’s my version that I have had and used for 40 years.
    2 cups boiling water
    3 1/2 cups sugar
    2/3 cup “Yuban” instant coffee or any really dark instant coffee
    2 cups brandy
    1 vanilla bean, divided
    Dissolve sugar & coffee in water. Let stand 5 min. then stir in brandy. Using cheese cloth, strain into sterile bottles. Break vanilla bean in half for each bottle. 3 months-fair, 6 months-good, 12 months-excellent. The longer it ages, it gets thicker and more syrupy. I have some that is over 5 years old. Like coffee candy over ice cream.

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