As we have explored in several other posts, do it yourself liqueurs and infusions are an awesome way to save some money while experimenting with your hooch and your cocktails. This one came about as kind of a happy accident.
One day Rob offhandedly mentioned wanting to make some coffee liqueur at some point in the future. I, apparently, took that as let’s make coffee liqueur ASAP. On my next trip to the grocery, I got us a new bag of coffee and some cream–because White Russians, duh.
Well now we have cream and cream goes bad…so! Coffee liqueur it would be.
I left it up to Rob to do what needed to be done and, upon tasting the first triumphant White Russian with DIY coffee liqueur, promptly pronounced that White Russians are not for me. But, I think that mostly has to do with my college-born aversion to vodka and I’m willing to give the liqueur another shot. Ha!
DIY Coffee Liqueur
Once again we are using a Marcia Simmons’ recipe as our starting point. Her recipe calls for turbinado sugar and a whole vanilla bean, but the thought of using an entire vanilla bean for an infusion like this makes my heart hurt. That’s a pricey bean! (I suspect its price is more a function of exorbitant supermarket spice prices than the actual cost of the thing.) Instead we used homemade vanilla extract (put a couple of split beans in a vodka bottle, let sit for six months et voilà) and Rob says the liqueur tastes just like the real thing. Although this is made with light rum, Marcia says that it is the kind of liqueur where you can experiment with the base spirit. I’d definitely be interested in making this with a brown liquor like bourbon or even a mixture.
- 1/4 cup ground coffee, preferably a dark roast (we like Gevalia for most of our coffee needs)
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups light rum (Bacardi was on hand)
- Cold brew the coffee by combining the grounds with 1 1/4 cups of water and letting it steep for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
- In the meantime, combine the sugar and remaining cup of water and heat on medium high until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow it to cool completely. Or just use a cup of simple syrup already made.
- After 12 hours, strain the coffee through a coffee filter and combine with the syrup, rum, and vanilla in the liqueur’s final home.
- You may want to let it sit for a little while before using, although it isn’t strictly necessary. We made a White Russian immediately and it was fine.
As a non-fan of the White Russian and since we’ve already done a variation on that on this here blog, let’s take a look at the Revolver. It was created at a San Francisco speakeasy, the Bourbon & Branch, and we’re definitely on board for anything alliterative with an ampersand.
- 2 oz bourbon, H&H South house favorite Benchmark
- 1/2 oz coffee liqueur
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- orange peel garnish
Other sites I consulted for this cocktail advised using a rye-heavy bourbon, like Bulleit or Basil Hayden’s. I’d definitely like to try it with one of those, but it was pretty tasty with Benchmark. The coffee flavor was not discernible at all, but I could tell there was more at play than just bourbon. The orange peel/bitters combo brings a lot to this cocktail party, so I wouldn’t skip the garnish.