Homemade Coffee Liqueur
Homemade Coffee Liqueur

This homemade coffee liqueur is easy to make and vegan. You can use it to replace Kahlua to pack a robust, earthy, and subtly sweet punch into your next White Russian or Coffee Negroni.

The eye-opening aroma of coffee isn’t just reserved for mornings. Coffee liqueur can be enjoyed neat as an easy and energizing after-dinner drink, or added to a cocktail for a robust, earthy flavor.

If you just love making your own alcoholic beverages or are vegan, this is the recipe for you. Many of the most popular commercial coffee liqueurs, such as B. Kahlua, use a bone char filtration process for their sugar, making them unsuitable for people on vegan diets.

Then from the fruits of your labor you will be ready to prepare a vegan White Russian whenever you want.

What is coffee liqueur?

A liqueur is a sweetened liquor to which sugar and additional flavorings have been added. Here, coffee beans are steeped in aged rum and then combined with a simple syrup and vanilla extract.

Ingredients and what makes it vegan

This vegan coffee liqueur is made with aged rum, arabica coffee beans, vegan dark brown sugar, water and vanilla extract.

The special type of sugar used in this recipe makes this version of the coffee liqueur vegan – all other ingredients listed also contain no animal by-products. But wait! Sugar is not vegan?

Not necessarily; Many sugars go through a bone char filtration system, making them unsuitable for a vegan diet, which often includes the sugars used in most store-bought coffee liqueurs. Bone char filtration is literally made from charred animal bones and has been used to refine sugar since the 19th century.

However, vegan sugar is not an unattainable ingredient – in fact, you may have some on your shelf right now and not even know it. A quick Google search will confirm whether your brand is vegan or not, and if it’s organic sugar, there’s a good chance it’s vegan too.

This recipe also uses vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans as it makes it easier to control the flavor and gives you a more consistent vanilla flavor in subsequent batches. Start with the minimum amount of extract in the recipe below and if you want more, do so in 1/4 teaspoon increments.

When making the simple syrup, you don’t want it to be too rich or viscous when you mix it into cocktails. Remember you are making a liqueur, not a syrup! A one-to-one ratio for the syrup gives the end product a nice mouthfeel without being too heavy.

how to use it

Coffee liqueur is mostly used by Belarusians. A White Russian can easily be made vegan by substituting coconut cream or an alternative dairy product with a similar viscosity for the heavy cream in the recipe.

Many grocery stores have alternative “barista” milks that can be mixed and whipped like cream, which could be a great alternative here. Coffee liqueur can also be enjoyed over ice as an after-dinner drink or digestif. But don’t stop there!

Try it in an espresso martini, in a Negroni, substituting for the sweet vermouth, or paired with some bourbon in an Old Fashioned cocktail – the coffee will introduce bold notes of vanilla and caramel, making for an exciting drink.

Tips and tricks for making homemade coffee liqueur

Don’t want to forget your coffee liquor because it’s out of sight in the pantry? Set a calendar reminder! It’s the most effective way to remind yourself of projects that are brewing (especially if you’re like me and may have several going on at once).

You should also be careful how you strain the beans from the rum. Remember to strain this mixture like you would regular coffee – with a coffee filter!

You can also use a nut milk bag, which is my preferred method, or very fine cheesecloth folded a few times and used in conjunction with a colander. If you notice beans floating in your sifted rum, filter it again – nobody wants to put a coffee bean in their mouth while sipping a cocktail!

Variations, Swaps or Substitutions

Dark brown sugar is used in the recipe as it gives the coffee a rich caramel flavor with a touch of earthiness and just the right amount of sweetness.

Light brown sugar can also be used, but the result will have a softer caramel flavor. Granulated sugar is also an option if you can’t have molasses but the resulting liquor is sweeter and might need an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.


I keep all my homemade liqueurs and infusions in the fridge for longer shelf life. This coffee liqueur can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

More perfect coffee recipes

  • How to make cold brew coffee
  • Irish coffee made from brown sugar
  • Coconut White Russian
  • Belarusian cocktail

Homemade coffee liqueur

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
5 minutes

cooling and filling time
20 minutes

total time
30 minutes

20 servings

2 1/2 cups

Please note that the liqueur needs a steeping time of three weeks before use.


  • 1 1/2 cups Arabica Coffee beans, coarsely ground

  • 2 cups old rum

  • 1 Cup vegan dark brown sugar

  • 1 Cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place ground coffee and rum in containers and shake:

    Combine ground arabica coffee beans and rum in an airtight container with a tight fitting lid, a large mason jar works perfectly.

    Shake gently and store in a cool, dark place for three weeks, gently shaking the jar every few days.

  2. Strain coffee liqueur:

    After the infusion is ready, strain the mixture using a nut milk bag or coffee filter and squeeze the bag or filter to extract all of the liquid. Discard coffee beans and set aside.

  3. Making Simple Syrup:

    Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved and is barely boiling, turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

  4. Finishing and storing coffee liqueur:

    Whisk together the vanilla extract with the brown sugar syrup. Pour the coffee-infused rum into the simple syrup and stir to combine. Pour liqueur into a clean, airtight container, such as a flip-top bottle. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.

nutritional information (per serving)
87 calories
0g Fat
11g carbohydrates
1g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!