This recipe came from my grandmother on my mother’s side. According to my mother, my grandmother would make batches of Kahlua every year around Christmas to hand out as gifts. It was a tradition for some time and eventually my mother got her recipe and started making it as well.
I do remember Kaluha being a big deal around the “adults” when I was a kid. I never really knew what it was and, honestly, never really got into drinking it as an adult. That is, until my dad introduced me to the White Russian one Christmas. I’ve been a fan of White Russians ever since and they became kind of a treat whenever I would visit my parents over the holidays. Dad would ask if anyone wanted one – a clear sign he was making one for himself – and my brother and I would usually accept. The family would decorate the Christmas tree or gather at the table to play games armed with tasty cocktails. Games are always better with cocktails.
I’ve never really gone out of my way to make White Russians for myself but when I started collecting family recipes my mother sent me her recipe for homemade Kahlua, and that changed everything. Now that I’ve made this recipe a couple of times, I think I’ll pick up the tradition of making homemade Kahlua to hand out at Christmas time.
- 3½ cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons Yuban Instant Coffee dissolved in ½ cup cold water
- 5th of Vodka
- 3 teaspoons of glycerin
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Combine sugar and water in a pot and cook over medium heat until it reaches a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes.
- Set the pot aside and let the mixture cool.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the coffee, Vodka, Glycerin and Vanilla and mix well.
- Add sugar mixture and stir.
- Let cool and bottle for later.
This recipe makes 2 750 ml bottles plus a little extra for the cook. Save some old bottles for this sort of thing, they come in handy. I happened to have an old Pendleton Whiskey bottle still around from Christmas so I used that bottle and the original bottle the Vodka for the recipe came in. The finished product has a great silky, smooth look and taste to it that is hard to resist. The final product has a nice coffee flavor that has no bitterness at all thanks to all the sugar. Even with just a touch of vanilla, it lends an almost caramelized tone to the drink that is really nice. This stuff is good enough to drink on it’s own, or add a touch of heavy cream for a killer White Russian.