Make your own Kahlua

If you like the movie The Big Lebowski, you also know it’s pretty hard to watch without an overwhelming urge to drink a White Russian. The obvious problem with that for me is that they are made with cream – but that seemed like a relatively easy problem to solve. The less obvious problem shows up when you research the ingredients in Kahlua itself: it’s loaded with sugar and corn syrup.

The rest of the ingredients seemed pretty manageable, though – it’s essentially a blend of coffee, vodka, sweetener, and a bit of vanilla. Sounds like something you could brew up in your kitchen to me! This ended up being surprisingly quick and easy, and you know we’re all about quick and easy around here.

Start by boiling water for what is going to be a crazy strong batch of coffee. While you’re boiling the water you can add a vanilla bean to it to let it simmer in there. Remove the vanilla bean and set it aside for the moment while you make your coffee.

I used a french press and added about 3/4 cup of coffee grounds to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water (told you it was strong!) and let it brew for about 3-4 minutes. Strain it into a measuring cup and you’ll have maybe a cup of coffee – you’ll lose some water in all those grounds.

Now pop that vanilla bean back in there and add 1/4 cup agave nectar and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Stir to combine and then add a cup of vodka. Blend it all together and taste – it should taste pretty similar to Kahlua (or Tia Maria or whatever coffee liqueur you normally drink. I think Tia Maria might be made with rum, which you could also use.) It’s a bit less sweet than Kahlua, which I personally preferred, but you could always add more of the syrups to make it more sweet if you want to. Once it’s all blended together just pour it into a bottle (I used an empty vodka bottle)

You can drink it right away or you can let it sit for a few days – I imagine it keeps for at least a few weeks, probably longer.

And now, of course, I will also tell you how to make a vegan White Russian. And remind you that The Dude Abides.

What are your favorite drinks? Or movies? Or drinks that remind you of movies?

Homemade Coffee Liqueur

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: This makes about 2.5 cups of coffee liqueur.

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Low Fat

Make sure you use a GF vodka if you can't have gluten.


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup ground dark coffee
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup


  1. Add water and vanilla bean to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove vanilla bean and set aside. Using a french press, combine coffee grounds and boiling water and brew for 3-4 minutes. Pour brewed coffee into a measuring cup.
  2. Add vanilla bean, vodka, agave nectar and maple syrup to coffee in measuring cup. Stir until well combined. Let cool and taste, adding more agave or maple syrup if desired. Transfer to a resealable bottle (you can leave the vanilla bean in the bottle or remove it, it's up to you.) You can serve immediately or let it sit for a few days.

Dairy Free White Russian

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

If you want your "cream" really thick use the recipe below. If you want it to be fast you can just use a nice thick soy milk, I enjoyed it that way too. If you use just soy milk make it 2 parts soy, 1 part kahlua, 1 part vodka.


  • 1 oz soy milk
  • 1 oz coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz coffee liqueur (above)
  • 2 oz vodka


  1. To make the "cream" combine soy milk, coconut milk, and vanilla and whisk well until smooth. Combine with coffee liqueur and vodka and serve over ice. Watch The Big Lebowski. Repeat.


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  1. [...] with orange, we feel for those who spend Saturday nights seeking a citrus-free adult beverage. Vegan White Russians and other creamy cocktails are a safe bet, as are grape, pear, or watermelon-based [...]

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