Here's The Buzz! You Can Turn Instant Coffee Into Liqueur

So the first place to make your own liqueur at home is to understand what a liqueur is. Yes, it’s alcohol, but it’s actually so much more than that. A liqueur is usually a blend of spirits and additional ingredients such as sugar, fruit, herbs or spices that come together to create a unique flavour profile. Liqueurs are usually served as an after-dinner treat or with dessert since they’re so naturally sweet but they can also be blended with other alcohols and ingredients to create interesting cocktails.

Coffee liqueurs have been around for a long time with names like Bailey’s and Kaluha making the drink a household name. And for good reason, it combines two of the world’s most popular beverages: alcohol and coffee! In mass-produced brands, there is usually a lot of sugar added to balance out the taste of the alcohol and while overly-sweetened drinks can taste more like syrups, in the case of coffee liqueur it’s necessary to contrast with the bitterness of the coffee as well. 

Now we know that coffee liqueur is essentially just coffee, sugar and alcohol, it’s easy to see why you can achieve similar results at home. Fair warning, this isn’t going to be up to the standard of store-bought coffee liqueurs whose brands have spent decades perfecting their formula, but it makes for a nice treat at home or an innovative gift idea. 

Making it at home is a pretty straightforward process, but that means that choosing quality ingredients wins half the battle. The simplest way to go about it – and the method we recommend for beginners – is to use instant coffee granules. But you can also use coffee grounds to achieve different levels of intensity and different overtones. Some recipes also suggest using rum, but vodka is a great place to start since it’s flavourless and you don’t have to worry about how it will affect the overall flavour. 


  • 4 cups white (or brown) sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • ¾ cup instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups vodka


  • In a saucepan combine the sugar and water over a medium heat and bring it to a boil.
  • As soon as it’s bubbling, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat, stir in instant coffee, and allow to cool.
  • When cool, stir in vanilla extract and vodka. Pour into clean bottles, airtight, and store in a cool dark place for a few days before using.