Liquor Laboratory

9 Best Substitute for Kahlua: Liqueur Alternatives (2024)

Substitute For Kahlua

Kahlua is a coffee-flavored liqueur with a rich, velvety taste. This popular liqueur is a common bar staple to create drinks like the White Russian, but it can be used for desserts and sweet treats like Tiramisu, too.

We’ve experienced running out of Kahlua, and trust us – not having this stuff makes a huge difference in our cocktail drinks and desserts.

Thus, we’ve meticulously tested these coffee liqueurs and other alternatives to ensure they deliver the flavor profile reminiscent of Kahlua.

So, if you’re eager to discover the perfect substitute for Kahlua, keep reading – here are a few fantastic options with the same flavor profile!

Top 9 Substitute For Kahlua

1. Mozart Chocolate Coffee Liqueur

Mozart Chocolate Coffee Liqueur on a Table

Average Price: Around $35 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 17% ABV

Nose: Arabica coffee, Belgian hot chocolate, and cocoa beans

Palate: Mocha, coffee, and truffle

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Mozart Chocolate Coffee Liqueur takes your beloved chocolate liqueur and gives it a luxurious twist. This sweet coffee liqueur has a rich, creamy mocha profile and arabica coffee aroma, with a hint of chocolate in the mid-palate.

“Kahlua: Where coffees and cocktails share a passionate embrace.” – Liquor Laboratory

Imagine your favorite coffeehouse mocha, add a touch of booze, and thicken it to a milkshake’s consistency – that’s precisely how we would describe this popular coffee liqueur.

Sip this indulgent drink neat or chilled, or get creative by using it in Irish Coffee. [2]

2. RumChata

Person Making Drinks with Rum Chata

Average Price: Around $35 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.75% ABV

Nose: Dark rum and dairy cream

Palate: Coffee and cocoa powder

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: RumChata is a delightful cream liqueur that combines Caribbean rum and dairy cream, resulting in a creamy concoction with a rich flavor.

While it doesn’t technically have a similar taste to Kahlua, it still pairs beautifully with coffee and chocolate.

If you ever find yourself short on Kahlua, RumChata can become a 1:1 substitute in most recipes.

Read: Non-Alcoholic Kahlua Alternatives

3. J. F. Haden’s Espresso Liqueur

J. F. Haden’s Espresso Liqueur on a Wooden Table

Average Price: Around $35 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 20% ABV

Nose: Cold Cuban espresso and Arabica beans

Palate: Strong Cuban espresso and espumita (sugar foam)

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: J. F. Haden’s Espresso Liqueur pays tribute to the coffee’s significance in Cuban culture.

Producer Tropical Distillers blends their spirit and natural sweeteners with the distinctive cold Cuban espresso to create a unique and flavorful liqueur. [3]

It’s a low-alcohol treat with a stronger coffee flavor, perfect for sharing and savoring with friends, and, of course, as one of the best Kahlua substitutes.

4. Bailey’s Irish Cream

Bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream

Average Price: Around $35 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 17% ABV

Nose: Chocolate, vanilla, and citrus, and Irish whiskey

Palate: Creamy and nutty, with instant coffee, chocolate, and whipped cream

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Bailey’s Irish Cream is one of the most popular coffee liqueurs that often steps in as a 1:1 substitute for Kahlua in many recipes.

While it has a lower alcohol proof, its creamy and sweet flavor makes it an excellent choice for those who enjoy a luxurious after-dinner drink.

However, keep in mind that Bailey’s is made with cream and whiskey, while Kahlua uses vanilla and rum. You should dilute it slightly to achieve the desired consistency. But what’s a good substitute for Baileys?

5. Grand Brulot VSOP Cognac Café

Bottle of Grand Brulot VSOP Cognac Café and a Glasses

Average Price: Around $40 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Nose: Honey and ground coffee

Palate: Robusta coffee flavor, brown sugar, and vanilla

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Grand Brulot is a unique fusion of VSOP Cognac and robust Ecuadoran coffee beans, inspired by a rich French tradition spanning centuries of blending espresso and alcohol.

It has a captivating balance of alcohol and a strong coffee flavor, with just a hint of honey sweetness on the nose. Its full-proof nature makes it a star player in creative cocktail variations like Negronis and Manhattans. [4]

6. Du Nord Cafe Frieda Coffee Liqueur

Bottle of Du Nord Cafe Frieda Coffee Liqueur and a Glass on a Table

Average Price: Around $35 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 25% ABV

Nose: Nutty, deep chocolate, orange, raisin, and spice

Palate: Chocolate and coffee taste, with orange, raisin, and spice

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Crafted by a black-owned brand with a strong emphasis on quality, Du Nord Cafe Frieda Coffee Liqueur captures the coffee’s essence with its delightful chocolate nuttiness and complex flavor profile.

Cafe Frieda blends locally roasted Fair Trade Peace Coffee, roasted chicory, Minnesota beet sugar, and Du Nord’s distilled spirit.

It offers a balanced and sweet liqueur that captures the essence of the locally delivered coffee beans transported to the distillery by bike (talk about sustainability!).

Cafe Frieda is a wonderful addition to your coffee liqueurs and is one of the greatest Kahlua substitutes.

Read: Non-Alcoholic Kahlua Alternatives

7. Jameson Cold Brew Whiskey & Coffee

Man Drinking Jameson Cold Brew Whiskey & Coffee

Average Price: Around $40 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 30% ABV

Nose: Bold coffee and subtle whiskey

Palate: Premium Arabica coffee beans and Jameson Irish whiskey

Star Rating: ★★★★

Why We Like It: Jameson Cold Brew Whiskey and Coffee masterfully marries the rich taste of Irish whiskey with Arabica coffee beans, all without the need for added sugar.

The result is a dry and surprisingly potent blend. This versatile liqueur can be enjoyed neat, over ice, or with Cola and an orange twist (according to the brand). Personally, we keep this in our collection as a Kahlua substitute.

8. St. George Spirits NOLA Coffee Liqueur

Bottle of St. George Spirits NOLA Coffee Liqueur with Coffee Bean and a Rose on Table

Average Price: Around $40 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 25% ABV

Nose: Roasted coffee beans and Madagascar vanilla

Palate: Roasted French chicory, Ethiopian coffee beans, and organic cane sugar

Star Rating: ★★★

Why We Like It: St. George Spirits NOLA Coffee Liqueur is a flavorful substitute for those seeking a caffeine-free alternative to Kahlua. Crafted with roasted coffee beans, sugar, and spices, it offers a deep, rich coffee flavor perfect for both sipping and mixed drinks.

What sets it apart is that it’s less sweet. This is perfect for those looking for a Kahlua substitute that’s less sugary yet still packed with character. But do you know what alcohol goes with coffee?

9. Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur

Man Opening Bottle of Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur

Average Price: Around $35 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 25% ABV

Nose: Dark chocolate and rich coffee extracts

Palate: Rich coffee flavor and wheat vodka

Star Rating: ★★★

Why We Like It: Mr. Black Cold Brew is a substitute for Kahlua; youNote: The star rating was determined during a blind taste and based on every mixer’s flavor’s balance, aroma, smoothness, and quality when used in cocktails. can step in as a 1:1 replacement in most recipes.

This is the real deal – it’s crafted with 100% Arabica real coffee beans, which delivers a robust coffee flavor with a touch of bitterness. Unlike Kahlua, Mr Black uses Australian wheat vodka in the blend, which keeps the liqueur from having an overly sweet taste.

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons, and now I’m adding a dash of coffee liqueur to make it even sweeter.” – T.S. Eliot

Also, keep in mind that it comes with a slightly higher price tag than a bottle of Kahlua, but the quality and flavor more than justify the cost.

Note: The star rating was determined during a blind taste and based on every mixer’s flavor’s balance, aroma, smoothness, and quality when used in cocktails.


What is a substitute for Kahlua in an Espresso Martini?

A fantastic substitute for Kahlua in an Espresso Martini is Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur. It’s a rich coffee liqueur that pairs perfectly with espresso and vodka.
You can also use homemade liqueur or Creme De Cacao.

What can you substitute for Kahlua in Tiramisu?

You can substitute Kahlua with a mixture of strong brewed coffees and a touch of vanilla extract.
Start by brewing a strong cup of coffee and allow it to cool, then mix it with a small amount of vanilla extract to mimic the flavor profile of Kahlua.

What’s a great substitute for Kahlua in a White Russian?

You can replace Kahlua with Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur in a White Russian. This popular coffee liqueur offers the sweetness you need to complement the vodka and cream.

Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for Kahlua?

Yes, there is a non-alcoholic substitute for the Kahlua brand. You can create homemade Kahlua without alcohol by combining strong brew, simple syrup, and a hint of vanilla extract. You can also use coffee extract.

What can I use as a substitute for Kahlua in cocktails or recipes?

There are several alternatives to Kahlua, including Tia Maria, coffee liqueur from other brands, homemade coffee syrup, or a combination of strong brewed coffee and simple syrup.

Can I use other types of coffee liqueur as a substitute for Kahlua?

Yes, coffee liqueurs like Tia Maria, Mr. Black, or even generic coffee liqueurs from different brands can serve as suitable substitutes for Kahlua in cocktails and recipes.

Are there non-alcoholic substitutes for Kahlua?

Yes, you can create a non-alcoholic alternative to Kahlua by combining strong brewed coffee with chocolate syrup or cocoa powder, along with a hint of vanilla extract or almond extract for flavor.

Can I use homemade coffee syrup as a substitute for Kahlua?

Yes, you can make a homemade coffee syrup by combining equal parts strong brewed coffee and granulated sugar, simmering until thickened. This syrup can mimic the coffee flavor of Kahlua in cocktails and recipes.

What if I prefer a stronger coffee flavor in my substitute for Kahlua?

If you prefer a stronger coffee flavor, you can use a combination of strong brewed coffee and simple syrup or add a splash of espresso to your homemade coffee syrup for a more robust taste.

Are there any flavor variations I can add to my Kahlua substitute?

Yes, you can customize your Kahlua substitute by incorporating additional flavors like vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, or orange zest, depending on your preferences and the recipe requirements.

Wrapping Up

After testing out these incredible Kahlua substitutes, our favorite one has to be, hands down, Mozart Chocolate Coffee Liqueur.

This is a good substitute because it offers a delightful blend of rich Arabica coffee, Belgian chocolate, and a smooth creme liqueur base. Its dessert-in-a-glass experience perfectly complements various caffeine-based cocktails and desserts, making it a standout choice for those seeking a good substitute for Kahlua.

For those seeking more variety, Du Nord Cafe Frieda brings the flavors of the South, while St. George Spirits NOLA provides a less sweet option, emphasizing coffee’s complex and nutty aspects.

Of course, if you haven’t got any of these options or want a non-alcoholic alternative, you can go with homemade Kahlua, hazelnut liqueur, or Creme De Cacao. With these fantastic Kahlua substitutes, you’ll never fall short in elevating your alcoholic beverages and desserts.


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