FROM OUR RECIPE ARCHIVES: Kira Birney’s Coffee Liqueur


Springtime is near, but while it’s still cold and yucky (and we’re all still cooped up inside), here’s a good project: make homemade coffee liqueur. This recipe, which comes from longtime Cafe Grumpy barista Kira Birney, is divine poured over vanilla ice cream or used in a White Russian (see this and other seasonal recipes in The Edible Brooklyn Cookbook).

Kira Birney’s Coffee Liqueur
From Caroline Bell, owner of Cafe Grumpy and Coffee Roastery
Makes 10 (8 ounce) jars

1 pound whole Cafe Crumpy Heartbreaker espresso beans (or your favorite espresso blend)
6 tablespoons vanilla extract
5 cups vodka
8 cups sugar in the raw or any turbinado sugar
4 cups water
pinch of salt
10 (8 ounce) Mason jars with tight fitting lids

1. In a large glass bottle tightly covered with cheesecloth, steep the coffee beans and vanilla in the vodka, unrefrigerated, for 1 month in a cool dark place.

2. Strain the liquid into a large stock pot and add the sugar, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and let simmer for an hour, until the mixture begins to thicken but not caramelize. Stir occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning.

3. Let cool. Decant into Mason jars and seal tightly. The liqueur will be ready to drink immediately, but it will be very sweet. The sweetness will mellow over time, and the liqueur can be stored for up to a year, unrefrigerated, before serving.

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