New Twist to Coffee Liqueurs
2 cups of coffee, brewed strong
1 1/4 cup sugar (use 1 cup if using flavored vodka)
2 cups vodka
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise (skip this if using orange or other fruit-flavored vodka)
Brew the coffee, preferably a French or Italian roast. Add the sugar and mix until it dissolves. Allow to cool, then add the vodka and vanilla bean, if using one. Place a funnel on top of the bottle and pour. Cover and store in a cool dark cupboard for four weeks. Pour out the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the vanilla bean pods and, using a funnel, pour the strained liquid into a new, clean bottle. Store for another two weeks.
Pairs Well With
In years past, coffee liqueurs were simple to make, just add sugar, coffee, and perhaps a vanilla bean, store for a month or two, and voila!--coffee liqueur as good as the store-bought kind.
Today, homemade coffee liqueurs are still simple, but they're a lot more interesting to make and to drink. One exciting addition to the marketplace during the last several years has been a growing selection of flavored vodkas. As terrific as they are for martinis and other vodka drinks they also make a more complexly flavored and decidedly more delicious coffee liqueur. Some of the possibilities are Skyy Orange or Skyy Vanilla Vodka; Smirnoff Orange or Vanilla vodkas, or the Van Gogh brand with its double espresso, Dutch chocolate, espresso, or vanilla vodkas.
Although the recipe remains pretty much the same when using flavored versus non-flavored vodkas, it's always a good idea to taste any flavored vodka for sweetness and adjust the sugar content for your liqueur.
Use very clean bottles with a very tight-fitting stopper and store in a cool dark cupboard at least for four to six weeks before offering it to friends.