Coffee… many of us can’t imagine a morning without it (I’m certainly one of them). And coffee liqueur… who doesn’t love a good White or Black Russian?
We knew we wanted to do a coffee liqueur, but took some time trying to decide exactly how we would do it. A lot of coffee liqueur recipes call for vodka, lots of sugar, instant coffee or brewed coffee, etc. In general, we like to use less sugar in our recipes and wanted to incorporate a different booze. So, Coffee Bourbon seemed a natural choice!
1/4 c. Whole Coffee Beans, Smashed (preferably dark, espresso roast)
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1 TB dark brown sugar (packed)
1 1/4 c. Bourbon
First we took the coffee beans and placed them in two plastic bags. We took a metal muddler and smashed the beans until they were gently crushed (see photo).
Place all ingredients in a small canning jar, and set the jar in a dark, cool location. Every few days, shake the jar lightly.
Infuse for about 3 weeks, or until this reaches your desired taste.
Strain and filter through cheesecloth, jelly bag (if desired) and finally coffee filters.
This coffee liqueur is so rich and delicious. You can taste all the nuances of the bourbon, and the espresso roast coffee gives it such a good flavor.
We are also going to try this same recipe with brandy.
This is a “must try”! If you love coffee, you need to make this.
Coffee Bourbon Milkshake: Quite possibly the best milkshake you will ever have!
May 5, 2012 at 11:47 am
white russians are soooo good ~ i’ll have to try this
May 5, 2012 at 11:57 am
please do! It is really good!
May 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm
Ooohhh….Micah and I love coffee, and he loves bourbon! Bookmarked for later!
May 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm
good, you won’t be sorry. Be sure to make this!
May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm
May 6, 2012 at 1:38 am
Two of my favourite things. Looks great.
May 6, 2012 at 8:42 am
thanks! Maybe eventually we can inspire you to do an infusion. This was really easy… And delicious!
May 6, 2012 at 9:11 am
Yep. I am inspired. Just busy 🙂
May 6, 2012 at 9:13 am
May 6, 2012 at 9:13 am
You should do a few posts about basic techniques for infusing, liek the one you did about straining – bottling and storing and stuff maybe. That would be cool.
May 6, 2012 at 9:27 am
Ok, thanks for the tip. I’ll see what I can come up with.
May 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm
Looks yum, will try very soon, cheers!
May 8, 2012 at 7:13 am
It is really good. Hope you like it!
May 10, 2012 at 7:39 am
Wow, this looks amazing! Perfect for bourbon chocolate truffles….
May 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm
That is a BRILLIANT idea! Thanks!
June 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm
Made exactly as directed, may have crushed beans a little more, and after 10 days…am thrilled! Have already made another double batch. Not sure that much of the original batch will last a full 3 weeks (due to scientific tastings), but will try for the comparison. Thanks for sharing, GREAT idea.
June 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm
Greg, that’s awesome! I’m so glad you tried it, and even happier that you loved it. I hear you on the scientific tastings – that’s a big part of why infusing is fun. This was a very small recipe to begin with (I always have so many infusions going, I keep a lot of them to a minimum) and I agree that this is worthy of making a double, triple, whatever size batch you can. I’ll be interested to see what you think of the 3-week (if you can last that long) version v. the 10 day. But honestly, as long as you love it, it doesn’t matter what I think the infusion time should be. Cheers! And thanks for the comment.
June 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm
I am so glad you found me and now I found you…. such an awesome post. REALLY yum!
June 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm
Thanks Heidi! I think we will all find a lot of fun stuff on Barfly101!
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September 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm
So I’m considering making this for someone who loves cinnamon in his coffee and I was wondering: would adding cinnamon to this infusion work or would it overpower the coffee? If it would be ok, how much should be added per batch? Thanks!
September 15, 2012 at 9:42 am
Hi Emily, Sorry it took me a little while to get back to you! Cinnamon infuses very quickly and strong into infusions (as does coffee). I would suggest making the coffee infusion as the recipe states, then after you have strained everything else out of it, add a small piece of a cinnamon stick (I would try to either break off a piece of a cinnamon stick or cut one in half) and then just leave the piece of cinnamon in for a day or two, until you feel the cinnamon flavor is strong enough. Alternatively you could use the whole cinnamon stick and just infuse it for a few hours. (Depending on how strong your cinnamon stick is, and how strong of a cinnamon flavor you want, you could leave it in for longer. But I think that adding it after everything else has infused will allow you to isolate that flavor and get the result you want.) Keep in mind that cinnamon flavor can mellow a bit over time as well. I hope that helps! I would love to hear if you try this and if it works out.
September 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm
Why not use ground coffee?
September 16, 2012 at 8:24 pm
Hi Nick, you could absolutely use ground coffee. I chose whole beans that I lightly crushed because I thought the result would be a fresher coffee flavor. But I’m sure if you use a good ground coffee if would also taste good.
September 16, 2012 at 8:48 pm
I am going to give it a try and I imagine it will have a stronger taste/infuse faster.
I’ll let you know the results
September 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Great! You may want to shorten the infusion time. Just keep tasting it and filter when you feel it tastes right.
October 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm
What kind/brand of bourbon do you recommend for this recipe?
October 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm
You can really go with anything here, as the coffee flavor will be quite strong. Many people agree that using a top shelf alcohol is a bit of a waste in infusions (especially if they are infused for a long period, and are taking on quite a bit of other flavor). Save the good stuff for sipping straight or your favorite cocktails. I think Jim Beam works great in all of the bourbon infusion recipes on this blog. There are some people who may tell you that your infusion will only be as good as the quality of alcohol. But I think your better bourbons may be enjoyed more on their own. Happy infusing!
November 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm
I have made this recipe twice now. It is currently my favorite infusion!
November 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm
Thanks for the feedback! Do you have a favorite cocktail make with it? This would be a great holiday gift. Cheers!
November 6, 2012 at 10:44 am
We used to make this in my dorm in 6 gallon batches using vodka, but more or less the same recipe letting it steep 2 months. I see some of this in my near future.
November 9, 2012 at 7:34 am
I don’t want to know what you had this infusing in in your dorm room, although you were probably much classier than I was back then. Give this a try with the bourbon and see what you think. It gives a lot more flavor than vodka, in my humble opinion.
November 9, 2012 at 10:14 am
Roommate was a Chemical Engineering student and would liberate 4 liter bottles of USP alcohol from one of the labs…mixed 50-50 with spring water yielded 100 proof vodka. 1 gallon for the fake Kahlua, 1 gallon for the bloody mary’s (got a killer recipe for non-vegetarian bloody mary mix to share closer to New Year).
January 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm
The batch is a success (but I had no doubts). Next time it will be the bourbon version, though…here’s the report: http://1pumplane.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/coffee-liqueur/
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November 22, 2012 at 9:09 am
My grandfather would love this. Is there a specific style of bourbon that you recommend?
November 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm
I just use Jim Beam for most of my bourbon infusions. I think a lot of the higher grade bourbons are a bit of a waste since you would cover up a lot of the flavor. The coffee bourbon in particular has a very strong coffee flavor. But really it is a matter of personal preference. This would turn out great with pretty much any bourbon!
November 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm
Have you ever tried making chocolate covered espresso beans out of this after you strain the beans out (like for your peanut bourbon clusters)? Do you think it would work?
December 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm
Ooh! That sounds awesome! Yes, I think it would work great. I would try to dry out the beans, but probably not as long in the oven as the peanuts. I would use more chocolate, and maybe try to do it like a chocolate bar or bark. Let me know if you try it.
March 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm
Oh I might try this on the next batch!
December 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm
Hi Alicia. I just bottled this fantastic recipe for a Christmas gift. After I strained the solids, I infused some simple syrup with the remains and made a delicious taste, which I tried out with some rum, first a favorite in a simple daiquiri form, then another favorite, then another. Each had a pleasant undertone of the original bourbon, which pleased me each time. Thank you so much for your idea, not only for the gift idea I’m sure will please, but also with the syrup. You are my favorite place to learn new ideas. Merry Christmas Alicia.
February 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm
So I tried this infusion and it came out great! However, of the original 3 cups of Bulleit Bourbon I had started out with, I only got 1.5 cups out! I had used a 1/2 cup of Blue Bottle Decaf Noir, which is a medium roast, along with a whole vanilla bean split down the middle and the brown sugar.
I still have 1/2 cup of bourbon infused coffee beans, which I intend to dry and use in a cake/muffin recipe or coat with chocolate! Will post how they come out.
Thanks for the awesome infusion. Keep em coming…
February 23, 2013 at 10:56 am
Hi Anand, thanks for your comment! That is strange that your infusion soaked into the coffee so much. I do like your idea of using decaf! I am not big on caffeine in the evenings, which means limited use of of this one for a nightcap. I love the idea of using the coffee beans in a cake or coated in chocolate! Sounds fabulous… Cheers~
February 23, 2013 at 11:04 am
I got the idea of using decaf from my attempt at the chamomile bourbon recipe. I didn’t get my hands on any chamomile flowers, so I used chamomile tea instead, which turned out to be caffinated. The taste was good, but trying to sleep after having one measure of that as a nightcap was an exercise in itself! Took me a couple of nights to figure out that it was the caffinated tea in the bourbon that was the cause of my poor sleep patterns on some nights (I was tracking my sleep using the Jawbone Up band… ’twas pretty cool correlating my sleep patterns with my alcohol records :D).
March 11, 2013 at 11:55 pm
Made this for my best friend using Bulleit and beans from his daily boutique coffee shop and it turned out brilliantly! Both he and the guys down the coffee shop were impressed 😀
Made a second batch for me but it has come out very strong due to a basic error on my part – I only used 2/3 a bottle of Bulleit, as I also did a test run of the apple pie bourbon, but forgot to adjust the remaining ingredients correctly 😀
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January 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm
I made 2 bottles of this for Christmas presents – but I added a few more beans (I want to say 1/4 cup more), brown sugar (I think 2-3 more TBSP), and lengthened the infusing time by a couple of weeks. Oh, and one of the bottles I made at the last minute on the fly, so I had no vanilla bean and used vanilla extract instead. 😉 I made one bottle for a friend who drank it as it was, in a glass, neat – and she loved it. I also gave her the beans from both bottles that I made and she ground them up to make coffee. The family members I made the other bottle for drank it on ice with milk – they all loved it. 🙂
January 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm
Thanks again Parker! This is one of my favorites too… Cheers~
July 30, 2014 at 3:34 am
Hi, just started lookin into infusing after having a fig infused bourbon the other day at a bar, it was awesome!!.. I’m totally inspired by your recipes… Sorry if this is a dumb question but if you double or triple the amount of bourbon your going to use, do you double or triple everything else accordingly? Looking at the recipie and it says 11/4 cup bourbon to 1/4 cup of beans etc am I reading this correctly? It doesn’t seem like enough bourbon?
September 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm
Hi Benjamin, sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, if you double or triple the bourbon, you double or triple all ingredients. The coffee bourbon recipe is very strong, but I really liked it that way. You can certainly add more bourbon or infuse for a shorter time period if desired.
November 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Hey Alicia, what did you do with the left-over beans?
I’m thinking of the same thing except doing the opposite – soaking in , but then using the actual (now flavoured) beans to make coffee – if that makes sense? I was more thinking of getting unroasted beans, soaking in something, then drying, then roasting for coffee.
What you reckon? Cheers.
December 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm
Hi there, you could certainly try that. I think the coffee would be very weak as the alcohol is pulling most of the flavor out of the beans. let me know how it goes.
December 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Thanks for the reply 🙂 Hmm it’s a toughy – I think some flavour might be retained as they would get soaked then roasted, I do agree you might be ‘swapping’ some flavour though!
In saying all of that, I’m a 25 y/o bachelor and with that title comes single-middle-twenties-male-cooking-skills so, it will certainly be an experience. Haha! I’ll give this a go around xmas. Cheers.
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December 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm
I just mixed this up this morning, following your recipe. (Although I scaled up the ingredients and added a little extra coffee since I’m trying to speed the infusion time). I checked on it a few minutes ago, and there were bubbles coming out of the liquid. When I took the lid off the Ball jar there was a little popping noise, making it seem like the liquid was releasing gas. Being paranoid about food safety, this made me think that somehow the mixture was fermenting, but I don’t actually believe that’s possible given the alcohol content. Can you provide any peace of mind? Is it common for the infusion to produce bubbles?
December 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm
Hi Emily, I am afraid I do not know about the bubbles. I also can’t imagine some type of fermentation or reaction considering the amount of alcohol. Could the bubbles just have been air releasing from the ingredients? I hate to say it, but I usually like to err on the safe side. If you are all concerned about the infusion, then please be safe. If you have to start over, please don’t be too concerned about the infusion time. The final result in my recipe is quite strong on the coffee flavor. It will still be very good with a shorter infusion time.
December 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm
Thanks for your fast response! I’ll keep an eye on it to see if the bubbles subside, and if it seems “off” at all then I’ll start again.
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September 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm
How much coffee and vanilla is needed to infuse and entire bottle of bourbon?
September 22, 2015 at 10:06 pm
I guess that depends on what size of bottle you’re talking about… If you mean a 750 ml bottle, you could probably use one full vanilla bean and about 2/3 cup of coffee beans. Cheers~
September 30, 2015 at 3:53 am
what kind of bourbon do you use?
October 19, 2015 at 10:11 pm
I often use Jim Beam for infusing. I find it is neutral (which is nice for infusing) but also inexpensive. And when you are infusing something as strong as coffee, it will definitely cover up any nuances in the bourbon, so my personal opinion is that top shelf liquors are not necessary. But if you wanted something a bit nicer than Jim Beam, I think Makers Mark would be great. Cheers~
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November 16, 2016 at 7:51 am
I add cacao nibs to this infusion for a chocolate coffee bourbon. I have a friend who LOVES chocolate, chocolate and bourbon so I created an infusion just for her. It turned out great!! LOl she wouldn’t share it with anyone else so I am going to probably double the recipe so I can have a little for myself.
December 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm
Thanks! LOVE That idea
November 18, 2016 at 3:52 am
Have you done this in larger batches? Simply double? I’m wondering if vanilla bean would be too strong if double. Thank you. Your site is excellent.
December 7, 2016 at 7:11 pm
Thanks! You can absolutely double or triple this. If it ends up too strong, just add more booze after you have strained it.
March 10, 2017 at 7:13 am
I made this about two weeks ago, so I’ll be trying it soon. Any suggestions of what to do with it, other than drinking it straight? Any ideas of a cocktail or whatever that it’d be good in?
November 23, 2017 at 9:25 am
Hi there, I hope you enjoyed the coffee bourbon. I realize this response is long overdue. My absolute favorite use for this was in a milkshake! So delicious. I also think it would be great mixed with a little brandy or even a vanilla vodka (if you’re into that), perhaps a splash of cream. Did you find a cocktail you liked?
March 10, 2017 at 7:14 am
I made this a couple of weeks ago, so it should be ready to try soon. I’m looking forward to it, but I have no idea HOW to drink it. I’ll try it straight, but I feel like it’d be better in a cocktail. Any ideas?
November 23, 2017 at 9:27 am
Sorry to respond so late! Did you enjoy the coffee bourbon? I enjoyed it most in a milkshake but also think it would be great with a little brandy, or vanilla vodka and cream. Cheers~
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