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10 Best Kahlua Substitutes That are ALMOST Identical!

Kahlua is a well-known coffee liqueur that might be best known as a part of the famous Mudslide. Kahlua is a widely popular liqueur that can be found in every liquor store or any retailer where you purchase your favorite alcoholic beverages and liqueurs.

If you have never had Kahlua before, it’s a sweet blend of rum, sugar and coffee, making for a delicious blend on its own but, allowing for a magnificent cocktail when mixed with additional ingredients. The rich arabica coffee, mixed with rum allows for the coffee liqueur to be a distinct alcoholic beverage option that many other liqueurs currently being sold offer in terms of flavor and value. 

As supply chain issues continue, trying to find and purchase some of your favorite products is becoming increasingly difficult. If for some reason, you can’t find Kahlua on the shelves of a store nearby, or if you are looking for a slightly more affordable option, there are some substitutions currently being sold that will give them a similar taste to your favorite sweet cocktails and even dessert options that will compliment it just as well as Kahlua does. 

kahlua substitutes

What is Kahlua?

Kahlua is a very popular coffee liqueur that is used in cocktails and even some desserts. It was created in 1936 and has only become even more popular over the years. Kahlua is produced and bottled in Veracruz, Mexico.

The rum, coffee and sugar contents create a sweet coffee liqueur that is the perfect ingredient to any dessert style cocktail. Being a coffee liqueur, Kahlua does contain caffeine as it is made with Arabica Coffee, which has become a sustainable source of coffee beans within the last few years. Kahlua contains about 5mg of caffeine for every two ounces of the liqueur.

The sweet flavor of the Kahlua allows it to be the main ingredient in not only cocktails but recently an added ingredient in delicious desserts such as cheesecake. The last few years, the Kahlua brand has evolved to offer their customers additional flavors to accommodate the ever changing trends in the food and drink department.

Besides the traditional coffee liqueur there is now a mint, salted caramel, vanilla and even a blonde roast flavor as well. Allowing for even more additional options when it comes to crafting your favorite cocktail or dessert at home. Allowing for more handcrafted cocktail options for everyone.

Kahlua is a multi-purpose type of liqueur, meaning that it can be used as part of a brunch menu, cocktail or happy hour, an after dinner drink or even as a late night beverage as well. There really isn’t a designated time to enjoy a Kahlua based cocktail. 

Kahlua used in recipes

Listed below are some of the more well-known recipes that include Kahlua coffee liqueur. Whether it’s a classic or newly created cocktail or even a delicious dessert, there are many ways to enjoy the sweet taste.

Frozen Mudslide

The frozen mudslide is the classic Kahlua based drink and remains timeless. To make a perfect frozen mudslide, use a hurricane glass, or something similar. Take chocolate syrup and swirl around the glass and let sit while you prepare the drink.

Not only will you use 1.5 ounces of Kahlua, you will also need 1.5 ounces of Irish Cream Liqueur and 1.5 ounces of your favorite brand of vodka. Take all of those ingredients along with three scoops of vanilla ice cream and put into a blender and begin mixing.

Add crushed ice to make your mudslide even colder and the frozen texture. Pour into the glass and top with whipped cream if you so desire. The perfect dessert and cocktail combination. 

Espresso Martini

If a martini is more your drink of choice rather than a frozen mudslide then the Espresso Martini may be just what you are looking for. In a shaker glass, take two tablespoons of your favorite brand of espresso along with two tablespoons of Kahlua and four tablespoons of your favorite vodka and ice and shake thoroughly.

Strain into a martini glass and serve. If you are looking to make a good presentation, swirl some chocolate syrup around the martini glass before pouring the martini. 

White Russian/Black Russian

A White Russian may be seen as a cocktail for older adults, but it is also one of the most popular Kahlua cocktails served. A White Russian has an ounce of Kahlua, an ounce of any brand of vodka and a half cup of either cream or milk. Serve over ice and it’s a nice after dinner cocktail. There is also a cocktail called a Black Russian, which, as most would guess, similar to the White Russian except without the cream/milk.

Irish Coffee

There are many versions of an Irish Coffee, this particular one involves Kahlua. Combine one ounce of Kahlua, one ounce of Jameson Irish Whiskey and four ounces of hot coffee into a coffee mug. Top with whipped cream and enjoy a delicious evening cocktail. 


Aside from alcoholic beverages, Kahlua is also a key ingredient in many delicious desserts. The rum based dessert Tiramisu, can be made with Kahlua and makes for a delicious, moist cake. Kahlua cheesecake and cupcakes made with Kahlua have also become popular as of late. For an even easier dessert option try a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of Kahlua on top, sort of like a spiked affogato. 

Kahlua substitutes

There could be many reasons that a person would want to find a substitute for Kahlua. Whether it’s the cost of the liqueur or perhaps one of the ingredients that has you looking for an alternate, there are some options. 

There are other types of coffee liqueurs on the market that will give your recipe, whether a cocktail or something else, the same great sweet, coffee and sweet chocolate taste. Whether it’s a more affordable option, one that has a slightly less alcohol content or a non-alcoholic substitute, there is certainly a type and brand for whatever you are looking for. 

1. Kamora

Is a coffee liqueur that, like Kahlua, is also made in Mexico. Kamora does have a slightly stronger coffee taste, which, mixed with other ingredients should be too overwhelming, but that is the only real difference in overall taste.

Kamora is the most comparable substitution that won’t completely change your recipe. Kamora is much cheaper than Kahlua and is sold for about $20 per bottle, a lot cheaper than a bottle of Kahlua.

2. Vincenzi Original Coffee Liqueur

Is an Italian coffee liqueur that will bring hints of coffee and vanilla to any recipe you are making. The Vincenzi cost between $20-$25 which is a bit cheaper than the Kahlua and is a good quality liqueur.

3. The St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur

was created in New Orleans, Louisiana as a way to honor the city whose story is based on bold flavors. St. George uses coffee beans from Ethiopia along with Madagascar vanilla, French chicory root and organic cane sugar. As with the other listed substitutes, the type and origin of the coffee beans used in the liqueur will change the coffee flavor that you will get from the beverage.

4. Tia Maria

Another coffee liqueur option is Tia Maria which is a darker coffee liqueur that is made in Jamaica. Tia Maria is made with Jamaican coffee beans which tend to be a bit stronger than the Arabica coffee beans that Kahlua is made with. It is affordable and can be found in most liquor stores for about $25-$30 per bottle.

5. Kapali Coffee Liqueur

Is the most cost effective product that can be found on the market. Like Kahlua, Kapali is made with Mexican coffee beans and mixed with vanilla beans. It’s also the most affordable option for a coffee liqueur and Kahlua substitute and is sold for just around $10.

6. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee

Liqueur is made with Arabica coffee and comes from Australia. Unlike Kahlua that uses rum, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee liqueur uses Australian wheat vodka and pure cane sugar in its blend. This liqueur is typically sold for a little over 430 per bottle.

7. Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur

Is another American made coffee liqueur that was created in 2002. Leopold Bros. is known for being a great choice for a Black Russian seeing as it has rich, vibrant flavors and coffee taste that doesn’t need the added ingredients of other cocktails. The Leopold Bros. Coffee Liqueur costs about $35-$40 per bottle depending on where it is purchased.

8. Bailey’s Original Irish Cream

Could be considered a similar product but it will definitely give off a different taste. Bailey’s is a liqueur per say, but is made with whiskey unlike the rum based Kahlua. It can still be used to make a delicious after dinner drink or dessert so it is similar in that sense. Bailey’s is a bit pricier than the other substitute options and is about $35 per bottle. 

9. Creme de Cacao

A chocolate liqueur is another option when looking for a substitute for Kahlua. Creme de Cacao, just one brand of chocolate liqueur will give your drinks that same sweet, flavor, without the caffeine.

10. Coffee extract

If you are looking for the flavors of Kahlua in a beverage but don’t want the alcohol, there is a way to achieve that as well. Coffee extract is a great non-alcoholic substitute, if you are looking to make virgin frozen mudslides or for one of the mentioned desserts.

The coffee extra will give that caffeinated “kick” that Kahlua does, but without the alcohol. Perfect for any occasion and the best part is that it can be found in most grocery stores for about $5. 


Delicious dinner cocktails and desserts are the perfect way to end a great meal, whether it be a special occasion or just a weekend treat. Finding the right ingredients to make these cocktails and desserts is the key to get just the flavor you are looking for. While Kahlua is seen as the top brand in this category there is always a good reason to find substitutions for the coffee liqueur.

Whether you are looking for a less strong caffeine intake, a slightly less “kick” of coffee or perhaps even a non-alcoholic version if you are interested in that as well. There are also many options depending on your price point which allows for more options when making your decision during your shopping trip. 

Mini description:

Kahlua is one of the most popular liqueurs currently on the market. This coffee liqueur is well-known for being a key ingredient in frozen mudslides, martinis and even some of your favorite desserts. Whether you are looking for a recipe to use Kahlua or for a good substitute, there are many things to learn about Kahlua. 

Originally posted 2022-05-01 16:39:31.