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Kahlua is an excellent and popular liqueur, but also very expensive. But the low end substitutes are awful. But you can make your that's very good quality for much, much less than the Mexican brands or knock-offs. It's easy and takes only 10 minutes to make (not counting the time for the sugar water to cool). And it tastes GREAT! I doubt most people could tell the difference. You can use decaf to knock out the caffeine so it is a good bedtime drink Here's how to make it:
Yield: about 1.75 liter
In a heavy-bottomed pot (to avoid burning) heat the water and white sugar over medium heat and stir until the sugars is dissolved. (5 - 10 minutes)
Stir in the instant coffee and dissolve it.
Remove the sugar-coffee solution from heat, and allow to sit for about 15-20 minutes so it it is warm but not how (say 90 - 110 F, 35 - 40 C). This is to avoid causing the extract to breakdown and the alcohol to boil off.
Add the vanilla extracts and the brandy, rum or vodka. Stir well.
I save old Amaretto jars, but you can use any clean, glass jar that can be sealed, like mason canning jars..
Now let the mix age for at least a day or two. Basically, the longer, the better. Or so they say. It gets consumed before too long in my house.
Total cost: $14 per 1.75 liter
Kahlua generally costs about $30 for 1.75 liter plus tax (2020, Atlanta, GA retail)
So, the homemade is about 1/2 the price, even using good brandy!
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