Coffee liqueur


Italians like their liqueurs… and so do I. For the Italians, liqueurs are made to be sipped out of  small glasses after dinner as a digestivo, ie. to help their food go down. You can get liqueurs made out of almost anything, but probably the easiest to make at home is liquore al caffé, coffee liqueur.

You will need:

Coffee liqueur ingredients
Excuse the messy table…

One litre of pure, food grade alcohol
500g (minimum!) of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
One litre of STRONG coffee

The coffee maker in the above picture is a Moka, used to make Italian espresso at home. To speed things up (multitasking, heh) I used this and a  Napoletana to make the coffee:

Caffettiera Napoletana
Caffettiera Napoletana

As you may have deduced, this is the version from Naples. Still makes espresso. You can probably use coffee from a French cafetière, but I would advise to doube percolate it (brew the coffee again, using fresh grounds but coffee instead of water). Don’t even THINK about using instant, it just wont work – the coffee has to be strong, or you won’t taste it in the final product.

So, you make the coffee, pour it into a pan with the sugar and vanilla essence, heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved then allow to cool. Once cool, add the alohol, stir well and bottle – voilà, coffee liqueur!

Coffee liqueur
Coffee liqueur

You can mess around with the quantities to some extent to get the strength of liqueur you want, but it has to stay fairly strong or it wont keep in the fridge for long.

You may have problems getting hold of pure food grade alcohol if you live in the UK as they don’t tend to sell it. It is about 95 abv and the authorities are probably afraid that some idiot will try to drink the stuff…

The best you can do I’m afraid is to get hold of some high proof vodka – it will give you a similar flavour as vodka doesn’t really taste of much. In the US you can use Everclear to make liqueurs.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. blaarggh says:

    Can you find an authentic recipe for Limoncello? I have run across a few but they are ll so different I don’t know which are authentic and also what exactly is it supposed to taste like? Thanks for this post, I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hi, I’m glad you liked this! I do make limoncello, and I will be putting a recipe up around Christmas time because my Dad has also asked me to teach him how to make it… How should it taste? Hard to describe. The main thing is that it shouldn’t be bitter, and the main secret to that is not getting any of the white pith into the alcohol when you leave the zest to marinade. Like I said, I’ll be putiing up a recipe soon!

  2. spicegirlfla says:

    This sounds so good..and I love the process described here! Looking forward to trying this out!!

    1. Oh please do! Let me know how it goes! 😉


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