Sure you can get reasonable coffee liqueur (liquor) at vons for $30.00, but this instructable shows one way of making it for dubiously less cost and with much more personality! Making liqueurs takes patience and a devotion to the final product. There will be many opportunities to take short cuts, but if all you wanted to do is get drunk, then don't bother reading any further...Well read the part about Everclear
I should warn you that not only is the drink you're going to make extremely alcoholic (50-80 proof), but the base alcohol is so much more. Grain alcohol is also highly flammable, but I'm not going to get into that...
Edit*: Another instructable for some info
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
The following is sufficient to fill a 750 bottle.
Coffee, grounded just before making the coffee, enough to make 1 pint - Dark Roast
1 cup Grain Alcohol, 190 proof alcohol or 151 proof - typically goes by the name Everclear in the states. For our international friends this shouldn't be too hard to find as 190 proof, for Americans you typically will only get 151.
1/2- cup of raw Sugar or turbinado sugar, or if you want white boring sugar.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I will be using a Moka pot (Bialletti). Its typically an Italian coffee maker that makes something in between strong french coffee and espresso. Ideally you want your coffee as strong and as flavored as possible. Moka pots are fairly cheap ($20-$30) if you can find them. Bialletti makes sizes from 1 cup to 6. You'll be waiting awhile if you go with a 1 cup coffee maker, but a 6 cup coffee maker is tough to use for your morning shot.
You'll also need a large mixing pot, a pot for caramelizing sugar, and a coffee filter of some sort. Paper coffee filters don't seem to work well because the flow stops after awhile, so I found a reusable coffee filter that seems to work alright. The mesh may have been a bit too big though.
Step 2: Make the Coffee
Coffee tends to be best when the beans are ground right before you are to use them. I would recommend finding the best coffee you can, as its flavor goes a long way in this liqueur. I found a local roaster that has excellent coffee styles (shout out to Jameson Brown in Pasadena, CA). I liked using their French Roast, but any dark blend/roast would do just fine.
To make coffee from a moka pot, just fill-up the bottom container with water up to the pressure release valve. Place freshly ground coffee into the strainer and place into the bottom container and screw on the top receptacle. If you have the ability, try to grind the beans as fine the coffee maker can take before they start seeping into the coffee. It takes trial and error.
Place the coffee maker on the stove at a low heat and wait for the coffee to start coming out. Once you see it start coming out be prepared to take it off the stove. Remove as soon as the coffee stops flowing and all you get is air. The longer you leave it on the stove at this point, the more burnt the coffee is going to get. Also don't attempt to reheat the coffee (for the same reasons).
Step 3: Caramelize the Sugar
This step is pretty much essential if you have any sort of pride in your final result. Sure you could just add the sugar to coffee, but why then don't you just go to the liquor store and buy coffee liqueur.
To caramelize the sugar, mix the 1/2 cup of sugar and about 1/2 cup of water in a pot. The sugar will dissolve easier as you heat the mixture, so don't try to mix it before setting it on the stove. Basically just keep stirring the mix as it heats up even once its mixed. It will start boiling and bubbling and will require much more frequent stirring. I guess there is a fine line between making caramel and making candy, but it will all dissolve into the coffee anyway. Its tough to tell when enough is enough (ok, I'm not a professional caramelizer), but you'll notice eventually that the stuff is thickening. Thats probably a good point to add it to the coffee. Don't heat up the coffee to blend the caramel in. You don't want to burn the coffee.
Like I said, its difficult to determine the point of caramelization because you are stirring while hot when the stuff tends to flow the best.
Uhh, I guess I looked it up, and this is not the way to make caramel. Its the way I made it for the liqueur, so I'm going to leave it until I try differently. There isn't an instructable that gets at it, but Wikihow suggests just melting sugar.
Step 4: Mix in Other Ingredients and Let Sit (for a Short Time)
Mix in the caramel (sugar) and vanilla into the coffee until its well dissolved. Let this stuff cool a bit perhaps by putting it in the refrigerator for a bit and then add the alcohol. The only reason is that alcohol tends to vaporize quicker at higher temperatures. Bottle this magical concoction into a 0.75 liter bottle (wine bottle size) that has been well cleaned out and seal it up. Let it sit for a few days, and you will notice something interesting happen...
Step 5: Filter Once and Let It Sit (for a Long Time)
Let the bottle sit for about 3-4 days. You will see that the bottle has acquired a small amount of whatnot. Filter this out through the aforementioned coffee filter thats not a paper coffee filter. Clean out the bottle and put the mix back in.
Now let the bottle sit for a few months. This is a liquor, it will do better the longer you leave it (up to a point). Recipes I've found from Italy suggest up to 3-4 months. How long can you wait? Perhaps you might take this opportunity to make several bottles of it, so that when the day comes you can enjoy it for quite awhile.
Step 6: Enjoy!
There are many ways to enjoy this liqueur. The most popular would be white/black russians, but you could also make chocolate cordials!
Go wild, and if you have some interesting comments, please let the community hear them!
Also, making your own labels is probably the most important part of this whole instructable. If you skip it, you will be sad. I used printable packing labels (5 1/2" x 8 1/2") from Office Depot, btw.
Now that you are done making coffee liqueur, you can check out my similar instructable on making Chocolate Liqueur.
P.S. Kelly, please enjoy this instructable as well as the alcoholic beverages you will be receiving for your birthday.