Thursday, January 1, 2009

Firsts on the First - Coffee Liqueur

Happy New Year to you! I am excited to introduce you to a new feature here at Make it from Scratch; Firsts on the First.  Those who have participated in Make it from Scratch  for a long time, may remember that Make it from Scratch started not as blog carnival, but as a challenge. The challenge was to make something new. 

In that first challenge I made noodles from scratch for the very first time. Other participants tried tamales, butter, a hunting vest, and more. It was so much fun it turned into a weekly carnival. But with growth comes change. Trying something new every week or designating a week for new things became hard to manage. Eventually the challenge to make new things went by the way side and Make it from Scratch became the carnival it is today. 

I love what Make it from Scratch has grown into, and am amazed that what started out as a one time challenge, has become a weekly carnival for almost two years with a wide variety of participants. Personally though, I miss the extra incentive to try new things. So, to challenge myself again, let me introduce Firsts on the First. 

The first of every month I will share something new I have tried to make from scratch for the first time. Success or failure it will be here. This new feature has come about completely from selfish motives to give myself a push to try some things I keep saying I will make someday, but I would love for anyone else who wants the same motivation to join in. 

Starting next month, February first, I will put up a Mr. Linky with my First on the First post. Hopefully I can also come up with a button for First on the First too. (Anyone want to help me out with that?) Please join me with posts about trying to make something for the first time.  

Without further ado, here is my first Firsts on the First post: Coffee Liqueur.

Way back in August, Kathie posted her recipe for Coffee Liqueur at Women Not Dabbling in Normal. I bookmarked the recipe knowing that I wanted to use it to make some Christmas presents. Now somehow between August and oh... say... um... five  days before I needed to actually give the present, I forgot that the recipe required a vanilla bean and a month of sitting. Ooops....

So, I made a Procrastinators Version of Kathie's Coffee Liqueur

2 cups sugar dissolved in 1 1/2 a cup of water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of vodka

Kathie's original instructions include boiling the vanilla bean with the sugar and water for ten minutes. I debated if this was necessary when using extract, but in the end decided to boil the sugar and water to thicken it. Then I added the vanilla extract and the dissolved instant coffee. I allowed the mixture to cool and added the vodka. Be sure to see the original recipe, Kathie's Coffee Liqueur for more tips about making this. The best part about making this for gifts were the bottles that I used. 

A long time ago a friend, who works in a hospital,  gave us a box of brand new large medicine bottles that the hospital was going to throw out. At the time, I wasn't sure what I'd ever use them for, but when I decided to make Coffee Liqueur, I thought they would be perfect.

I also made Irish Cream this year. Both liqueurs went into the medicine bottles. The Irish Cream was tagged "Mamaw's medicine." The Coffee Liqueur was tagged "Papaw's medicine." Suggestions for how to take the medicine were also written on the front side. On the back side I wrote what was actually in the bottle. I made a second pair of bottles for my brother and his wife. 

These bottles were assembled in gift baskets with other homemade treats for the couples. I was very pleased with how the liqueur and the presents turned out, but next time I will remember to give myself the time to make the liqueur with the vanilla bean. 

Image Credit: Dekuwa


  1. Happy New Year Stephanie! I have the 2009 New Years Spirit Award awaiting you at my blog. :)

  2. What a hoot! My mother used to make something like this. She called it home-made Kahlua. And it sure did taste a lot like Kahlua!

    I doubt if she ever saw a real vanilla bean...she surely must have used the extract.

    Thanks for the background on Make It from Scratch. It's absolutely my favorite carnival. :-)

  3. Funny,
    Thanks. It is my favorite too! :)


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