Homemade Kailua Liqueur

  • Servings: 2 Fifths
  • Prep time: ~ 10 minutes
  • Cook time: ~ 5 minutes


  • 3 cups sugar (cane or coconut palm)
  • 1 vanilla bean, brokened into 4 parts
  • One 5th 80 proof vodka (750 ml)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup instant Maxwell House coffee ( or your favorite dark roast)

This is my grandfather, Papa Kruse’s recipe for homemade Kailua also known as Kahlua. This Kailua is very smooth and can easily be enjoyed by itself if you love sweet drinks. My husband calls it a light Kahlua since it does not have as strong of a coffee flavor or bite at the end. It tastes amazing in your coffee or hot chocolate as well as over ice cream. You will love the Kailua in a simple Coffee Nog.

My grandfather recommended letting it age for 30 days but we drink it the day we make it and enjoy it warm. Make extra for gifts; I am sure you will be the first to give a homemade Liqueur. Pour it into fun bottles or simple Mason jars and dress it up with a customized tag.

This Kailua is a light amber color. No caramel color is added so it looks very different than store bought Kahlua. If you want a richer color and more intense coffee flavor, add more coffee. This recipe only calls for 1/4 cup. I use an organic dark roast from Whole Foods. You can use your favorite coffee. Stop at a Starbucks and buy a cup to make this a 5 minute recipe.



1) Mix sugar, coffee, hot water allow to stand 5 minutes, then bring to boil. Pour vodka into 2 dark 5th bottles, add half of sugar mixture into each bottle. Add 2 pieces vanilla bean into each bottle and cap. Tip every few days for 30 days. Hold in dark area.

Recipe by Charles Kruse

Note: You can boil the water, then add the cane sugar, coffee and vanilla bean pieces and bring all the ingredients to another boil. Then remove from the heat and add the 750 ml of Vodka. Now pour the Kailua into your bottles or Mason Jars. Make sure each bottle has a vanilla bean piece. Enjoy!


View or Post Comments

Recipe by Back To Organic at https://www.backtoorganic.com/homemade-kailua-liqueur/