Otherwise known as enhanced Kahlua. Better Than Kahlua. Because, really, adding chocolate makes everything better. And what is not improved by adding chocolate is improved by adding bacon. Bacon flavored liqueur, while intriguing, will have to wait.
There are quite a few recipes for Kahlua-type products out there, and most seem to be variations on a theme. Mine is similar in execution, but invests less time than some that specify hours of simmering. Hours? Why, I ask? That really would be enough to drive you to drink. I decided to class it up a little (ok, a lot) by infusing some cocoa nibs into the coffee syrup and using vanilla vodka. And buy howdy, did that work out well. The chocolate flavor is fantabulous and rich, and the espresso adds a deep roundness that backs up that chocolate. Vanilla always helps highlight chocolate - that old opposites thing brings it all together.
3 cups water (filtered or bottled, if your tap water doesn't taste great)
4 cups sugar
3 generous tablespoons espresso powder*
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
2 tablespoons high-quality vanilla extract
2 cups vanilla vodka**
Bring water, sugar, espresso powder and cocoa nibs to a boil in a fairly large pot. Simmer on low for 20 minutes. Try not to stir a lot during the simmering process - it foams like crazy when stirred. Hence the need for a fairly large pot.
This will smell fab.u.lous and thicken to a syrupy consistency.
After 20 minutes, move the pot off the burner, put on a lid and let it sit until cold, and preferably overnight.
After letting this steep, strain the syrup to remove the cocoa nibs. I used a coffee cone with drip filter - FAIL ! - then switched to a very fine strainer. Save yourself the sticky mess and start with the strainer. Don't just toss away those now espresso-infused cocoa nibs, use them in cookies or on ice cream or something else exciting and delicious like this, maybe.
When you've strained the syrup, mix in the vanilla and vodka**, and then pour it into a clean bottle with a tight-fitting lid and let it age for a few weeks. It will taste much better once the flavors have had a chance to mingle and get to know each other. There is absolutely nothing preventing you from drinking this right away, however, if you feel you must.
*Try to find espresso powder that actually tastes good.
**You can make an awesome alcohol-free coffee-chocolate syrup simply by leaving out the vodka. Yes, this is for you, Jabba.
Make it pioneer: drizzle over ice cream - add the cocoa nibs for a holistic dessert treat. Think of it as recycling and pat yourself on the back for not wasting anything.
Make it Jersey: Dude, white russians!
Make it rock & roll: use to make a freakin' awesome affogato.