Booze (Homemade Irish Cream, Amaretto, and Coffee Liqueur)

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

It really never occurred to me that you could just like make liqueur. I assumed it could only be concocted in a lab, with lab coats, beakers, and Bunsen burners under bubbling test tubes. Not so; as it turns out it’s actually comically simple. And this (in addition to homemade vanilla extract), makes for some really easy Christmas gifts for hard-to-shop-for people.

P.S. Don’t bother trying to make homemade almond extract. Unlike the rest, almond extract is apparently impossible to make. It is, however, very easy to make homemade almond-sludge-vodka. But then again, that’s really more of a niche market.

The Journey:

Well, the first thing you have to do is to go to Costco and buy some really ridiculously enormous bottles of booze.


There’s really not much to say here. You do a little boiling, you do a little mixing, and then you bottle it up and save it for  a rainy day. Or, more likely, you bottle half of it up, while “taste testing” the other half right out of the pot.


The amaretto and coffee liqueur are a little more stable, but the Irish cream has a timer because of the cream. It doesn’t really matter though, because none of these are going to last very long.

The Verdict:

You could drink any of these on the rocks, but I like them in milk, possibly with a little vanilla vodka. Sara finds the coffee liqueur works well in cocoa, and the Irish cream is naturally good in coffee. You can also make a pretty good amaretto sour with just amaretto and lemon juice.

It’s really hard to pick a favorite here, but I think I’m going to have to go with the amaretto. However, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

And even if you do, you still have some really ridiculously enormous bottles of booze from Costco…


The Recipe:

Homemade Irish Cream from Design Sponge

  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon dark cocoa
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups Irish whiskey (we used Jameson, obviously)
  1. Bring the coffee to a gentle simmer in a medium-size saucepan.
  2. Add the cream, cocoa, sugar, honey and extracts, and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat; whisk in the sweetened condensed milk.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Whisk in the whiskey until completely blended.
  7. Store in the refrigerator.

Homemade Almond Liqueur from All Recipes

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 Tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture is boiling, and all of the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir vodka, almond extract and vanilla extract into the mixture.
  4. Store in a sealed bottle.

Homemade Coffee Liqueur from Bon Appetit

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup instant coffee granules
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add sugar and coffee.
  2. Reduce heat to very low. Stir just until sugar and coffee dissolve.
  3. Remove from heat. Let stand until cool, about 1 hour.
  4. Mix vodka and vanilla into coffee syrup.
  5. Pour into large jar. Cover; let stand at room temperature at least 3 weeks and up to 6 weeks.