Who says cowboys have to rough it? Not my pal Spoon (aka Scott), who's spent many years cooking for rafting expeditions, hunting trips and dude ranches. Along the way he picked up a few tricks, like this Mason jar version of Kahlua. It's easy to make and great for gifts. In fact, Spoon gave me a jar this year, and it was so delicious I thought I'd pass the recipe onto you.
Spoon's advice: "You want to let your Cowboy Kahlua sit for about a month to let the ingredients get to know each other. A little time smoothes it out."
Makes 3 jars
1/4 pound of fresh ground, light roast organic coffee
1 quart (4 cups) of water, plus a half cup of chilled water
1/2 pound of organic brown sugar
3 vanilla beans, or 3 teaspoons of your homemade vanilla extract
1 to 1.5 cups of organic grain alcohol or organic vodka
3 1-pint mason jars
Place the coffee and water in a pot, and set the stove to medium-high.
While the coffee is brewing, rinse each jar and drop in one vanilla bean and between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of alcohol. 1/3 cup of grain alcohol will give you 33 proof liqueur; 1/2 cup will be 50 proof. Vodka will make a weaker liqueur.
As the coffee brews, the grounds will rise to the top of the pot. Don't stir, but keep an eye on it. When you see small bubbles emerging from cracks between the grounds, remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle some chilled water over the top, so most of the grounds fall to the bottom of the pot. Ladle or pour the brewed coffee into a second pot, filtering it through a strainer or coffee filter if you prefer it without floating grounds. However, Spoon wants me to remind you that real cowboy coffee has "True Grit."
Add the sugar to the hot coffee and stir it well. Ladle the mixture into your jars until they're full. Cap the jars and let them sit at least a month. Make sure to keep one for yourself as a "taster." Giddyup!
image: Food In Jars.