Piloncillo Kahlua

Hi, all.

I meant for this post to be about a recent Old Russian New Year’s/Housewarming party we had last weekend. (Also, aren’t you glad Wikipedia is up again? Dear oh dear.) But, alas, I’ve been distracted by something so delicious and easy and relatively (or at least comparatively) inexpensive that I have to tell you about it before you go gallivanting out in the cold this weekend and need a little somethin’ somethin’ to add to your coffee or hot chocolate.

I have made kahlua, and no ordinary kahlua at that. Yes, oh yes.

When I visited Janessa a few weeks ago, she gave me a sample of some homemade kahlua her sister-in-law’s husband had made. The thought had never occurred to me; make your own kahlua? So simple, so ingenious! And after the previously mentioned Old Russian New Year’s party (which, I promise, will be featured in a post soon because we made some really yummy things that everyone in the entire would should know about), we had a surplus of vodka that was just  begging to be used. I racked my brain (ish) and thought back to the homemade kahlua, which is where we find ourselves this chilly evening.

Homemade kahlua is as simple as coffee, a sweetener, a little vanilla extract, and vodka. That. Is. It.

I adapted my recipe from a lovely cupcake blog, and you can find the original recipe here.  Instead of using light brown sugar, I used the rest of a piloncillo cone I had laying around. Piloncillo is the Mexican version of brown sugar, but comes in solid cones or discs and has a deeper and more complex taste than your average brown sugar. I’d recommend finding it at a Mexican/Latino market, as it will probably be more inexpensive than in a supermarket (if a supermarket even carries it in the first place). We don’t have a drip coffee maker, just a French press, so I used that to brew my coffee. (I’m not at all a coffee connoisseur and couldn’t really tell you the difference in taste, but, well, it turned out very well.) The last change was completely by accident: I added more than twice as much vodka as I was supposed to. You see, I was only making half a recipe, but somehow misread the directions and thought that it called for 1.5 liters (which, not-so-coincidentally is how much the yield is, not how much vodka you add, oops), so naturally I said “Ok, simple math, .75 liters = a little over 3 cups of vodka, boom.) But, well, as you already know, that is over twice as much vodka as I should have added. The result? It’s good. My kahlua isn’t exactly like what you’d buy in the store, but it is good. You can drink it straight, over some ice. Or, added to hot chocolate. Or, you could mix it with milk and have some nice calcium with your cocktail.

In sum, make this now.

Homemade kahlua

Note: I didn’t weigh or measure how much piloncillo I used but rather sweetened the coffee to taste (making it a little sweeter to make up for the vodka). I ended up using about half of a cone, which I think might be about a cup to a cup and a half. You can really just use as much or little as you want, depending on how sweet (or not) you want your kahlua.

  • 4 cups brewed coffee (Make it stronger than you normally would)
  • piloncillo to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups vodka (of a medium to good quality – I used Stolichnaya)
While coffee is still hot, stir in piloncillo to dissolve. I chopped the piloncillo a bit first to make it dissolve more quickly, but you can leave it solid and still be fine.
Let coffee and sugar mixture cool, then add vanilla extract and vodka. Stir to combine, and you are done. Store in an airtight container or pitcher. (I’m not sure how long it lasts, so I will report back if it goes bad ever).



p.s. I found another recipe for kahlua that has you steep whole coffee beans in vodka and dark rum, which sounds really very, very good. I’ll be trying that next.

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