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View Full Version : Is Kahlua worth the markup compared to alternative coffee liqueurs?


Lemur866
12-16-2005, 08:07 PM
I'm starting to enjoy drinking a white russian now and again. At the liquor store a bottle of Kahlua is typically 20%-50% more expensive than the other brands of coffee liqueur available. Obviously part of this is because Kahlua's brand is synonymous with coffee liqueur. But perhaps they deserve to be.

I'm not willing to buy 5-6 bottles of coffee liqueur and perform a blind taste test, and a bottle is likely to last 6 months or more. I haven't tried enough brands to compare and contrast them, but maybe you drunks--I mean connoisseurs--have. What say you? Is name-brand Kahlua worth the 50% markup? Why or why not? If not Kahlua, what other brands are recommended, and what ones do you recommend against?

Now to make myself an off-brand white russian and wonder what I'm missing, if anything...

15 noon
12-16-2005, 08:12 PM
If you mix these specialty drinks, then the cheaper brand is fine. In fact it might be the same thing you'd get with a mixed drink in a bar.

As individual shots, though they would definitely taste different. But then Coke tastes different than Pepsi and they are the same quality.

FairyChatMom
12-16-2005, 08:13 PM
I'm a fan of Toasted Almond, and I make it with generic Kahlua and generic amaretto and it works just fine. Now, I don't have a discrimination palate, but I can usually detect something that's off, and neither of the non-name brands seemed to be off.

For what it's worth...

silenus
12-16-2005, 08:16 PM
Make your own (http://liqueurweb.com/coffee.htm) and save! :D

jnglmassiv
12-16-2005, 09:33 PM
For a higher octane treat, try Patron's XO Cafe coffee tequila. It's a potent 70 proof but very sweet and coffee-y. It's also on sale near me (Binnys - Chicagoland) for $8/btl.

carnivorousplant
12-16-2005, 09:54 PM
From your link:
http://absinthe.bz/index.html?mv_pc=M-Liqueurweb3

Holy cow.

AuntiePam
12-16-2005, 11:30 PM
My mom used to buy the off brands, and I thought they left a sharp, bitter taste, and not as much flavor. They weren't as smooth.

The new Starbuck's liqueur is excellent, and I think it's a bit cheaper than Kahlua.

It takes me a year to go through a big bottle, so I'm okay with spending a bit more.

Nic2004
12-27-2005, 04:41 PM
Make your own (http://liqueurweb.com/coffee.htm) and save! :D
silenus are you still following this?

First Amongst Daves
12-27-2005, 10:42 PM
I'm starting to enjoy drinking a white russian now and again.

Kahlua works better than other coffee flavoured liqueurs IMHO for black russians. Its more subtle than other brands, whcih can be too tangy. (PS I used to be a cocktail bartender in an earlier epoch of my existence, but do not drink coffee which is why I probably like Kahlua's milder taste).

Hail Ants
12-27-2005, 11:23 PM
To me its not a White Russian without KahluaŽ (and Kettle OneŽ for that matter). In fact we even had a name for a non-Kahlua White Russian, a Dirty Mother. :eek:

I can tolerate cheaper vodka in one (barely) but not gross, sickly-sweet, almondy or chocolatey lesser liqueurs. Especially since, like the OP says, a bottle lasts for months...

chique
12-28-2005, 08:10 AM
Make your own (http://liqueurweb.com/coffee.htm) and save! :D*twitch*

My first real drunk (complete with blackout!) was off of homemade white russians. They used Everclear instead of vodka.

*twitch*

Lemur866
12-28-2005, 01:22 PM
Yeah, if I go through a bottle every 4 months, I'll save $12 a year by getting a cheaper brand.

But there's the principle of the thing. If Kahlua really is superior I'll pay the markup. If it's all branding then I can't do it. I know also that tastes differ, so there can be no definitive answer, but it's worth asking for opinions.

BMalion
12-28-2005, 01:47 PM
I'm starting to enjoy drinking a white russian now and again. ...

I trust that when you go to the store to buy the cream you write a check for the $1.87 and wear your bathrobe. :D

Lemur866
12-28-2005, 03:52 PM
The game is, every time The Dude drinks a white russian, you drink a white russian. I'm not sure how many that's gonna be, but you're gonna be on your ass by the end of the movie.

silenus
12-29-2005, 12:04 AM
Home-made coffee liqueur can be delicious, and you can tailor it to your tastes. I make mine with a bit of honey for a smoother flavor.

Nic2004
12-29-2005, 12:13 AM
Home-made coffee liqueur can be delicious, and you can tailor it to your tastes. I make mine with a bit of honey for a smoother flavor.
Thanks. We are just beginning to experiment with one... the "regular coffee" type listed in your link. It is aging in the cabinet now but it seems really bitter so far. Think the honey may help? Any tips or ways to customize? We like Kaulua (sp?) but this isn't relly like that so much.

silenus
12-29-2005, 12:45 AM
A little aging and a little honey can really take the edges off. Use your favorite coffee, brewed normally. The last batch we made used.....Yuban, I think. I'll have to ask the wife.

Nic2004
12-29-2005, 12:51 AM
A little aging and a little honey can really take the edges off. Use your favorite coffee, brewed normally. The last batch we made used.....Yuban, I think. I'll have to ask the wife.
Uh-oh. I used fresh ground coffee but made it extra strong because the recipies said "Don't use american coffee it's too weak". Also, they said to strain it after two weeks. Strain it? Is there going to be something growing in there? After boiling? With a cup and a half of vodka?

silenus
12-29-2005, 01:08 AM
Strain it to remove any grounds that might have gotten into the liqueur. If you are careful, it isn't really necessary.

You may have made the coffee too strong. You can dilute it a bit, and add honey to taste. Next time, you can modify the procedure to fit. Good luck! :D

Quartz
12-29-2005, 06:02 AM
Instead of liqueur, try a tot of Calvados.

Nic2004
12-29-2005, 10:34 AM
Strain it to remove any grounds that might have gotten into the liqueur. If you are careful, it isn't really necessary.

You may have made the coffee too strong. You can dilute it a bit, and add honey to taste. Next time, you can modify the procedure to fit. Good luck! :D
As always, thanks very much. I'll let ya know in a couple of weeks :)

AskNott
12-29-2005, 01:59 PM
Yes, Kahlua is worth the extra dinero. I tried Tia Maria once, and it was a terrible disappointment. I also tried to make my own coffee liqueur, and it was maybe 5% worse than Tia Maria, and about the same as munching straight coffee grounds. I realized I would rather drink the worst beer I've ever had.

Kahlua is the very best coffee liqueur, and nobody else comes close.

Lemur866
12-30-2005, 01:27 PM
All right, new plan. I've still got a bottle of the cheaper stuff. I would usually wait until it runs out to get a new bottle. But this time I'm gonna get a bottle of the name-brand stuff BEFORE I run out! And, get this, do a side by side comparison. Crazy, eh?

silenus
12-30-2005, 01:41 PM
Way to walk on the wild side, Lemur! :D

What Exit?
12-30-2005, 02:38 PM
I would say that it depends on what you are using the coffee Liquor in.
For a Black Russian or a shot in your coffee, Kahlua is superior.
For a Toasted Almonds or a White Russian made in a blender with Vanilla or Chocolate or Coffee Ice Cream the cheaper liquor is just as good.

Where the taste needs to stand out, go with the Kahlua, where is is just part of a mix of competing flavors the cheaper stuff usually works just as well.

Silenus: I think I need to try the recipe you linked.

Jim

Indygrrl
12-30-2005, 05:31 PM
I think Kahlua is definitely worth the extra money. Kamora f'n sucks.

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