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homemade liqueur recipes

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Hello everyone =) I'm new to posting here but have used the boards to search for advice before. I couldn't find any on this subject, though. I was wondering if anyone has any tried and true homemade liqueur recipes, particularly those in which I can use vanilla bean.
Just recently my Aunt bought me as a birthday present a container which must have at least 70 vanilla beans in it. I'm excited to experiment with them in any way that I can, and am planning on making gifts for people with vanilla extract, vanilla sugar, and hopefully some homemade liqueurs.
I searched the internet for recipes, and I found a few, but none of them have a lot of ratings and I'm so unfamiliar with it that I can't tell at all by looking at a recipe if it's a good one. If anyone has any advice I would love to hear it =) thank you...
Amy

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  1. I make Tia Maria for my DH all the time. This would be good for your vanilla beans. I usually make a double batch in a gallon jug. Great to give as gifts as well. I also use fresh ground Kona Coffee. You have to use cheesecloth in the end to strain it, but it is so worth it over using instant coffee. (I also add just a tad more rum than what the recipe calls for. He loves Tia Maria in his weekend morning coffee with some whipped cream).

    4 cups water
    4 cups sugar
    2 cups alcohol (vodka for Kahlua, rum for Tia Maria)
    1 cup dry instant coffee, or 1/2 cup fresh ground coffee (dark
    brew provides stronger coffee flavor) While fresh ground
    coffee leads to tastier Kahlua and Tia Maria later, it is also a
    bit more work intensive down the road.
    1 whole vanilla bean, or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tbsp caramel coloring, if desired
    Boil the water and sugar in large pot, until sugar is completely
    dissolved. Stir. Remove from heat, cool for half an hour.
    Slowly add in the dry instant or fresh ground coffee, stirring
    continuously.
    Add vanilla to the alcohol (vodka or rum), pour into gallon jug.
    Combine cooled sugar syrup and coffee mixture with the vodka or
    rum in gallon jug.
    Cover tightly, and shake every day for three weeks. Store in cool,
    dark place.
    After three weeks, remove vanilla bean (if used) and strain coffee
    grounds (if fresh ground coffee was used). Discard vanilla bean and
    coffee grounds.
    This recipe for Kahlua and Tia Maria style coffee liquor makes
    approximately 20 half-cup servings. It can be enjoyed as is, or
    combined with other ingredients.

    3 Replies
    1. re: boyzoma

      I don't even drink much Tia Maria [which I prefer over Kahlua] and I might just have to try this because I can! What quality of alcohol do you use when you make this?

      1. re: boyzoma

        I am *desperately* searching for a Kahlua recipe that does not use instant coffee. I really like good coffee, roast my own coffee beans each week, and I find the taste of instant to be vile. The vanilla bean helps (my grandma's Kahlua recipe is similar to the one boyzoma posted above) but when I've made it, the product doesn't even come close to real Kahlua. Because instant coffee sucks!

        Can anyone help?

        DANBOB

        1. re: danbob

          smtucker: I like to get a good quality rum for the Tia Maria. The best thing is to ask the person at the liquor store for a recommendation. Different ones carry different brands.

          danbob: In the recipe above, use the ground coffee NOT instant. I have tried it both ways and using the ground is so far superior. I think this would make a great difference for you. Its just like using imitation vanilla vs. vanilla bean! No comparison. :-)

      2. I discovered by accident when soaking some figs in port with a vanilla bean for jam making that the port leftover was very, very tasty! I also dropped a few beans into some cognac and that was very good too as well as easy. So of course that unleashed the creative frenzy! I've got a few experiments in the cupboard involving various summer fruits and different herbs and spices, along with cognac, calvados, vodka, single malt scotch, bourbon, and irish whisky (just pint jars) that should be ready for tasting soon. No recipes, I've just been winging it!

        1 Reply
        1. re: morwen

          That sounds very interesting. Please be sure to keep me posted on your results. Sounds tasty!!!!

        2. Vodka is our liquor of choice and have lots of success macerating fresh fruit in it. As it is almost purple plum season, you can macerate purple plums, sugar to taste in vodka. You will get something similar to slivovitz after about 20-30 days. Fruit is very good over vanilla ice cream (you can use your beans for that). Sour cherries and sugar are also excellent but the season for that is July.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            I just put some rose hips in vodka (stoly) with some lemon peels and agave/maple syrup. Wonder if I'm missing something?

          2. Homemade Tuaca

            1 750 ml bottle brandy
            2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
            Zest of 2 tangerines
            Zest of 1 grapefruit
            1 3 inch cinnamon stick
            1/2 cup simple syrup

            Pour the brandy into a clean container and add vanilla beans and zests. Let sit 1 week, then add cinnamon stick and simple syrup. After 1 more week of infusing, strain out all ingredients, reserving the vanilla beans. Drop the beans into a clean bottle, then fill with the brandy. (Note: to make simple syrup, bring equal amounts sugar and water to a boil until sugar dissolves.)

            1. I make barenfang/barenjager by adding vanilla, honey, clove and a little lemon zest to vodka. You want lots of honey so that the end product is amber in color and somewhat viscous.