Monday, December 23, 2013

Gifting Homemade Coffee Liqueur

Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will—tomorrow. – Gloria Pitzer

This is my last post before Christmas Day – post 12 of my "12 Posts of Christmas." The big day is only 2 days away. Have you been procrastinating? Do you still have someone you haven’t bought for? I have the answer.

Use potato vodka.
Photo: acme, Flickr ccl
Who really wants to stand in line-ups (now at EVERY store) when you don’t really need to? And who doesn’t appreciate booze under the tree? Christmas can be a stressful holiday...

Since it’s two days until Christmas, it would be unfair for me to post a recipe that you couldn’t have ready in time to gift. This one might take you 1/2 hour.

Many homemade coffee liqueur recipes, although very good, take two weeks to steep and mature. That's a bit of a wait, especially if you’re behind the 8-ball the day before Christmas Eve! 

So here's my recipe for same-day coffee liqueur. It's extremely simple, and will yield an excellent result. Of course, it's always better after a few days if you can wait.

You will find this rivals the commercially available quaffs, at a fraction of the cost. I've used this base recipe to make hazelnut coffee using flavoured coffee, and Sicilian orange coffee by adding orange peel and juice. It's a great jump-off recipe.

As always, the better your ingredients the better the result. So don’t cheap out on the coffee. After all, it’s the flavour of the whole liqueur.

Simmer – or more accurately light boil – the ingredients.
Make sure you choose a coffee that you enjoy, and that it's freshly ground – the same day you make the liqueur if possible. You never know how long pre-ground coffees have sat on the shelf. 

I used french roast because in my mind it is very "coffee" flavoured, but others will work. They all result in a slightly different liqueur. How about a deep, rich Columbian, or Sumatran, espresso or Costa Rican? Just remember – this is caffeinated liqueur.

If at all possible use potato-based vodka. Potatoes produce a smoother vodka than grain vodkas that are distilled from corn, wheat, or rye. If you don't like vodka as a rule, try some potato vodka, just chilled from the freezer. It's completely different.

Homemade Coffee Liqueur
Prep: 20 min  |  Yield: 1.5L at about 20% alc/vol
2 cups white sugar
Strain through a double layer of fine cotton, like
an old, clean pillowcase.
2 cups water
2 cups coffee, freshly ground for drip
2 cardamom pods (optional)
750 ml vodka, preferably potato vodka
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (not artificial)

Place water, ground coffee, sugar and ground cardamom in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then bring to a boil again and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Strain and measure the liquid. This is your infused syrup. You need 750 ml. If you don’t have enough add water to make the difference and heat to boiling. Let cool to just warm. Sometimes different grinds of coffee absorb more water...

Combine the syrup with the vodka and vanilla. Cover and allow to sit on the counter until cooled, about one hour.

Pour into bottles. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to chill.

This will make about 1.5 L of coffee liqueur, at about 20% alcohol. More than enough for a house full of revellers, or two really nice gifts. 

Coffee liqueur degrades in direct sun, so keep it in a cool, dark place. Or inside you, which is also dark, and we can only assume is very cool and awesome.

This is what happens if you drink too much of it.
3 ways to use it:
Jamaican Cocktail
3/4 oz. dark rum
1/2 oz. coffee liqueur
3/4 oz. lime juice
dash(es) of bitters

Kinky Russian Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. coffee liqueur
1 1/2 oz. coconut rum
1 1/2 oz. coffee cream

Ragtime Cocktail
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. brandy
1 oz. coffee cream


Feel free to comment. They’re always appreciated. I’ll answer quickly and as best I can. Feel free to share this post. All I ask is if you repost, please give me credit and a link back to the original on this site.

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