Homemade Cold Brewed Coffee Liqueur


I love cordials and liqueurs. They warm the tummy and brighten the spirit. Fruit liqueurs offer a taste of summer in the winter, and herbal liqueurs provide warmth and comfort. They are excellent in cocktails, but are also fancy on their own for a little after dinner treat.

This may not seem like the best time of year to make cordials and liqueurs, but in the winter you can make them out of citrus, herbs, spices, nuts, tea, and coffee. Today I want share my method for cold brewed coffee liqueur.

Coffee liqueur is easy and forgiving. I used to make mine with chilled drip coffee and vodka, but I prefer making it with cold brewed coffee with a brown sugary rum like Appleton Estate V/X. Cold brew coffee is rich and flavorful, plus you can concentrate the flavor without concentrating the bitterness.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but they are all pretty easy.


First make some cold brew coffee:

Cold brew coffee is easy, but keep in mind that it takes 12 hours to brew. Once you brew and strain it, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few days. This recipe makes a richer and more concentrated cold brew than I normally make, but I like it to be more concentrated so it can stand up to the rum.

You will need:

1.5 cups medium-coarse ground coffee. I used Stumptown Holler Mountain. I like to use a rich coffee with mocha notes. I can't wait to try it with Extracto 11 of Spades, but it may be a while before I can get my hands on some.

3-4 cups of water

2 glass pitchers or mason jars

coffee dripper and filter

Put the ground coffee and the water in the glass jar or pitcher; stir gently. Let it sit on the counter for 12 - 15 hours. I don't cover mine. Pour the coffee mixture through a coffee dripper lined with a filter into another jar or pitcher. Use now to make liqueur, or chill until later. Use within a week.


Now let's make some brown sugar simple syrup:

You can also use regular granulated sugar, demerara sugar, or organic cane crystals. If you are using "regular" white sugar, you may want to add a little molasses. Please feel free to make more than you need, it is good in coffee or in cocktails. This syrup is a 1:1 ratio, so feel free to make it 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. Easy peasy.

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup water

Put sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the syrup to a gentle boil, stirring every once in a while. Turn down heat to low-medium and let the mixture simmer until all sugar has melted into the water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool. Simple syrup will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.


Now let's make some liqueur:

This is the easy part.

You will need:

Your jar of cold brewed coffee

One 750 ml bottle of Appleton Estate V/X rum or Smirnoff vodka

simple syrup made with 2/3 cup of brown sugar and 2/3 cup water

1/2 vanilla bean (optional)

half gallon mason jar

Put all of the coffee into the half gallon mason jar, add 3/4 the bottle of rum or vodka, add most of your simple syrup, and the 1/2 vanilla bean. Stir gently and taste your mixture to see if you would like to add more rum, and or simple syrup.

Let your liqueur sit for a few days and taste again. It really takes a week or two for the flavors to evolve. You can always add more rum, coffee, or simple syrup anytime during this process. When the flavor is to your liking, remove the vanilla bean and strain into bottles. Some folks like to run the liqueur through a coffee filter to strain out any remaining vanilla, but I don't bother.

This recipe yields about 1 liter of liqueur, depending on how much cold brew, rum, and simple syrup you used.

Feel free to experiment by adding a little more vanilla, a few crushed cardamom pods, or some toasted hazelnuts.


Serve the cordial neat in a little cordial glass, on the rocks, in a White Russian, in a cocktail such as The Sellwood, or over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a tasty affogato.