Homemade Kahlua

I’ve never liked coffee. I’ve actually never had a cup of coffee my entire life. I’ve tasted it many, many times and never cared for it enough to enjoy a whole cup. I’ve never understood the obsession and I’m annoyed when it sneaks into my food, like in my ice cream. Last year my friend, Millie, made a big batch of homemade Kahlua to give to friends and I was one of the lucky recipients. I protested it would be wasted on me since I don’t like coffee but she insisted I keep it. I added it to hot chocolate first and surprisingly loved the flavor. I then made a White Russian with vodka and So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer. It was absolutely amazing. I was hooked. It became my favorite default night cap and the bottle Millie shared with me quickly disappeared. I was actually sad as I consumed the last drop of my beloved stash. Lucky for me, Millie, bless her soul, was willing to part with the recipe. I now make Kahlua on the regular to keep me happily inebriated while I hibernate in the winter. Is regular Kahlua vegan? According to Barnivore, it is. Why make your own? It’s more fun, tastier, more natural and way less expensive. This recipe produces five times the amount of Kahlua as a single bottle for the same price. Now that’s worth toasting to. Cheers!

Coffee beans, cacao nibs, raw cocoa powder

Homemade Kahlua

12oz of chocolate flavored coffee, ground (*OR* 12oz ground coffee, 3/4 cup cacao nibs, 3/4 cup cocoa powder)

1 1/2 lbs of brown sugar

1 750ml bottle of Everclear

2 tbsp vanilla extract

2t tbsp hazelnut extract

Yield: A whole lotta Kahlua. I got 16 cups (128 oz). You?

Fair Trade Coffee, Holy Kakow Cocoa Powder, Cacao Nibs

Brew one cup of water per ounce of coffee using your preferred brewing method. Place coffee in a large pot and add the sugar. Bring coffee and brown sugar to a light boil until all sugar is fully dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.

Add Everclear and extracts. I recommend letting it sit for a couple of days before drinking to let the flavors meld and the strong alcohol taste to mellow out though I dare you to not want to drink it all immediately.

Serve over ice by itself, with vodka, add coconut creamer, or splash it in hot chocolate. Enjoy responsibly.

Homemade Kahlua, So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
White Russian


  • I’ve made this with chocolate coffee beans, chocolate macadamia coffee beans and regular coffee beans with cacao nibs and cocoa powder, all versions turned out great.
  • The original recipe called for 2lbs of brown sugar, if you prefer it sweeter, add another 1/2lb of brown sugar to this recipe.
  • The hazelnut extract is a personal preference, it can easily be made with just vanilla extract, simply substitute the hazelnut extract amount with vanilla.
  • Any non-dairy milk can be used instead of coconut creamer in a White Russian though I find the body and creaminess of the creamer makes for a perfect cocktail.
  • Hot chocolate with hazelnut vodka and homemade kahlua is my favorite drink to sip on in the winter, especially while sitting by a fire.

A special thank you to the lovely Janessa, The Epicurious Vegan, for allowing me to use her photographs and for graciously being my test subject on multiple occasions. Once again, enjoy responsibly.


4 thoughts on “Homemade Kahlua

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I went to Barnivore today to look up a liqueur and bam, right there on the homepage…Kahlua is no longer vegan-friendly! So happy to see your recipe! 🙂

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