Homemade Coffee Liqueur

It’s so easy to make coffee liqueur at home. Use good quality ground coffee and adjust the sweetness to suit your tastes. Perfect for Espresso Martinis!

With just 4 simple ingredients you can make your own coffee liqueur at home! Perfect for coffee cocktails or gifting over the holiday season, my easy recipe for Homemade Coffee liqueur with rum and vanilla beats anything on offer at the liquor store.

Homemade Coffee Liqueur

Why make your own liqueur?

First of all, making your own liqueur is so much fun! The process is super simple and you can add and adjust flavourings to suit your personal preference.

I find store-bought coffee liqueurs like Tia Maria or Kahlua a bit bland and flavourless, so I love being able to use great quality coffee for a bold coffee flavour. If you are already a Kahlua fan, homemade will knock your socks off!


To make coffee liqueur at home you need the following four ingredients:

  • Alcohol: I like to use dark rum for an intense flavour, though you can just as easily use vodka. Use a cheap vodka for this recipe, you are adding so much flavour and sweetener that it is not necessary to use the expensive stuff.
  • Coffee: I use good quality ground coffee or grind my own beans. If you have a great local roaster that you like for your daily cup of coffee, use their beans! I don’t recommend instant coffee granules, they don’t have enough flavour for this recipe.
  • Vanilla: Adding just a third of a fresh vanilla bean or vanilla pod to the coffee liqueur will give it a wonderful aroma and intensity. If you can’t get vanilla beans or they are too expensive, use a little good quality vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract instead. Try adding a cinnamon stick for more delicious spice.
  • Sugar: My recipe calls for white sugar, though raw or brown sugar would be perfectly delicious too. I’ve given a general guideline of how much sugar to add, but you can adjust this to suit your tastes in the final product.

How to make Coffee Liqueur

  • To make a delicious coffee liqueur, all you need to do is to stir good quality ground coffee and some vanilla bean into rum or vodka and leave it overnight to infuse. The next day mix it with simple syrup and you’re done!
  • The beauty is the simplicity, making it this way gives you a beautifully clean, strong coffee flavour, and you can adjust the sweetness to suit your tastes. It lasts forever in the fridge and little bottles make wonderful gifts.

Full instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

How to use Coffee Liqueur

If you’re not a fan of espresso martinis, this liqueur is perfect in a variety of cocktails like the Bahama Mama or Black Russian, though I take no responsibility for the state of your head the morning after!

Try pouring some over vanilla ice cream for a boozy affogato or add a splash to your hot chocolate. It’s also brilliant for giving your homemade Tiramisu some serious oomph.

Fancy trying your hand at more homemade liqueurs? Grab my recipe for homemade Irish Cream (Bailey’s) Here!


Do I have to use rum to make coffee liqueur?

Not at all! Use whatever spirit you like. Rum, vodka, bourbon or brandy are all great bases for a liqueur.


You can use instant coffee, but to be honest, it’s always going to taste like instant coffee. Do yourself a favour and get some ground coffee, the flavour is so much better.

How long will coffee liqueur last?

Chilled, coffee liqueur lasts fairly much indefinitely. It makes a great gift or bring along for a party.


No, absolutely not! You can use a glass jar, a plastic container or similar, though you’ll look much more stylish with a classy cocktail shaker like this one!

An espresso martini in a martini glass with coffee beans on a silver tray.
Homemade coffee liqueur will make your espresso martinis even more delicious!

About the Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini was invented by the master of the modern cocktail Dick Bradsell in the early ’90s. Apparently, a customer came into his bar looking for something to “wake her up and **** her up”. Dick turned to the coffee machine next to him and a cocktail classic was born.

A modern espresso martini is made of equal parts coffee liqueur, vodka and espresso shaken hard over ice. This gives it a lovely foamy top, on which three whole coffee beans are floated.


Homemade Coffee Liqueur in an espresso martini.

Homemade Coffee Liqueur

Yield: 750ml (25 oz.)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Infusing Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Why buy expensive brand-name liqueurs when it’s so easy to make coffee liqueur at home. Use good quality coffee and adjust the sweetness to suit your tastes.


  • 500ml (2 cups) dark rum
  • 30g ground coffee, ca. ½ cup
  • ⅓ vanilla bean
  • 200g (1 cup) white sugar

for the Espresso Martini (makes 2):

  • 75ml (2.5 oz) vodka
  • 75ml (2.5 oz) coffee liqueur
  • 75ml (2.5 oz) hot, fresh espresso coffee


  1. COMBINE INGREDIENTS: Combine the rum, coffee grounds and vanilla bean in a large glass jar with a tightly fitting lid. Give it a good shake to combine, then allow it to infuse for at least 8 hours.
  2. MAKE SUGAR SYRUP: To prepare the liqueur, heat the sugar and 150ml of water in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  3. STRAIN RUM: Strain the rum through a coffee filter into a large jug, reserving the vanilla bean.
  4. MIX RUM AND SYRUP: When the sugar syrup has cooled, combine with the coffee-infused rum - if you are not sure how sweet you would like your liqueur to be, try adding half of the syrup, tasting (yay!) and adding more syrup until you have just the right amount of sweetness.
  5. DECANT AND STORE: Pour the liqueur into a clean bottle and store in the fridge. If you’d like a more pronounced vanilla taste, add the reserved vanilla bean to the bottle, otherwise, re-use the vanilla bean by letting it dry and then packing it into a small jar full of sugar to make vanilla sugar.

    ESPRESSO MARTINI RECIPE: To make the Espresso Martini, combine vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glasses and garnish with 3 coffee beans.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 35ml
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 12Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Nutrition is calculated automatically and may not always be accurate.

If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating in the recipe card and share it using the buttons below so that others can find it too!

Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Current Flipboard Food Writer in Residence and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 306


  1. Just made this and it’s awesome, though I’ve not had chance yet to put it into the cocktail. How long ‘should’ it last in the fridge would you say? I’m guessing a long time?

    • Hi Jodie, I’m so happy you like this recipe! As long as the bottle and any equipment used was nice and clean, this liqueur will last a very long time (months at least) in the fridge. Cheers! J.

  2. Thanks Jay! Do I need to keep it in the fridge? I’m making a few for people for christmas and putting it into smaller slip top kilner jars, but not a lot of space in the fridge so wondering if i need to keep them refrigerated or if they’ll be ok in the cupboard? Thanks, Jodie

    • Hi Jodie! What fantastic Christmas gifts. Fridge space is definitely a premium at this time of year! As long as all your equipment and bottles are properly clean and the bottles are sealed, this liqueur is usually fine to keep outside the fridge for several weeks as the sugar and alcohol will preserve everything. Try to store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight for best colour/flavour 🙂 J.

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