Paula Roy: Whole Foods in Half the Time


Homemade Decaf Coffee Liqueur           

Big-batch copycat Kahlua perfect for gifting and sipping

by: Paula Roy
homemade decaf kahlua

What’s not to love about coffee liqueur, most famously known as either Kahlua or Tia Maria? I remember my mom making this homemade liqueur when I was younger and thought it very clever of her to do so. I've updated her classic recipe my preparing it with decaf coffee (hers called for instant coffee granules....shudder....) so I don't have to lie awake all night after enjoying a cocktail or two in the evening. You can add this liqueur to your favourite hot beverage, pour it over ice cream or transform it into delicious adult drinks. It’s so easy to make and would be a terrific hostess or teacher gift that’s sure to be enjoyed by the recipient. It will be a lot stronger (180 proof, to be exact), if you can find 94% alcohol (also known as alcool) which is available in some Canadian provinces; in the U.S. you’re more likely to find grain alcohol, also called Everclear. Vodka makes a perfectly acceptable (though far less potent) substitute. Old maple syrup and salad dressing bottles are ideal for packaging the liqueur; I try to gather them throughout the year in preparation for holiday gifting.


2 cups brown sugar, tightly packed
6 cups strong brewed decaffeinated coffee
3 tbsp good-quality vanilla extract
375 ml alcool, grain alcohol or vodka 



  Combine brown sugar and coffee in a large saucepan. Heat, stirring, just until sugar has dissolved then set aside to cool to lukewarm.

  When mixture has cooled, add in vanilla extract and alcohol. Stir to blend then transfer to bottles. Let sit 24 hours before using.

Makes 8 cups

homemade kahlua

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