Peace Spokes from Peace Coffee
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by Anna Canning, Peace Coffee Project Manager

You know how when you’re a kid, some things can just put you into an almost-trance state, mesmerized and in some other world? Perhaps I was spacier than most, but one thing that did it for me was my parent’s Kahlua bottle.

After an introduction like that, I should quickly explain that it wasn’t the contents -- under-age drinking doesn’t really feature in this story -- it was the bottle itself, dark and mysterious, that bit of frayed red braid on the top, and the label. Looking at that bottle, the two archways and the road stretching away, I would get wobbly in the backs of my knees as my focus switched back and forth, back and forth between that mysterious distant road and the little man in the big hat sleeping in the foreground. I picked up a bottle in the liquor store recently. Computer graphics have provided a stylized blur to that alluring road and the little man is gone (Was he ever there? Did I imagine him?), but for a moment, I was tempted…

And then it occurred to me that I could put together something; not something quite so laden with nostalgia as a mysterious dark bottle with red braid, but something, and that something could probably made with Fair Trade ingredients.

I looked around a little, found several different recipes, and followed some combination of all of them.

1 pound Peace Coffee—I used our espresso, ground fine
7 cups cold water
4 cups brown sugar
4 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract (classy people, or those who had more confidence the project would work out, could use vanilla beans)
1 bottle vodka (organic vodka is available, although, lacking confidence in how it would turn out, I used relatively low-brow stuff)

First step is to brew relatively strong coffee. I used a toddy maker and put 7 cups cold water on the espresso, let it sit for 6 hours and then drip through. The finely ground coffee made that take longer than it otherwise would so it steeped overnight. Top the coffee extract off with water as needed to get back up to 7 cups.

Put the coffee extract into a large saucepan with the sugar.  Bring it to a gentle boil & keep it boiling for a half hour to thicken some. Then let it cool in any of those cold places we have around here in Minnesota (I used my unfortunate entryway, where it seems to be around 27 degrees far too often). When cool, add the vanilla and blend with vodka to taste.  My taste ended up being 5 cups of syrup per cup of vodka.   And then — bottle it in something clean, dry and well-equipped to pour over ice cream.

And here’s the pictorial version:

(Almost) all it takes for coffee liqueur: From left: vodka, vanilla extract, an empty bottle and a fabulous jug (not beer) to hold 7 cups of even more fabulous cold press Peace Coffee!
Simmer the coffee extract with an equal amount of sugar (or so, mine was 7 cups coffee to 8 cups sugar) in a rather ginormous pot.
Watched pots do sometimes boil. This one boiled for about ½ hour, until somewhat thickened.
Taste cautiously.
Drain entire measuring cup when it comes out tasting awesomely.
Measure syrup and mix with vodka -- I did 5 parts syrup to 1 part vodka so it wasn't too boozy. Then pour the works into bottles...
Or bottles and multiple quart jars, as it makes rather a lot unless the tasting gets out of hand.
Vanilla ice cream is one of the perfectest serving suggestions, although that measuring cup worked well too.


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