White Russian

White Russian is a classic creamy cocktail with a rich coffee flavor. The classic White Russian recipe is made with Kahlua, vodka, and cream make a delicious mixed drink to enjoy for any occasion.

White Russian drink on a serving tray

This simple, dangerously delicious drink was immortalized by The Dude in the film, The Big Lebowski. Even if you are not a fan of this classic movie, it is difficult not to fall in love with such an easy-to-make vodka cocktail. A White Russian drink is something that you definitely want to savor by sipping. It’s the perfect way to cap off an evening with friends, so skip dessert and mix up a batch of this White Russian recipe.

Is the White Russian From Russia?

The only connection a White Russian drink has to Russia the country is vodka. In fact, the White Russian cocktail was first mixed in 1949 by Gustave Tops, who worked at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. Tops created the drink in honor of the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. However, it wasn’t immediately a hit. It wasn’t until 1965 that the recipe first appeared in print when the Oakland Tribune newspaper published a recipe for it.

Making the Perfect White Russian

The White Russian recipe is simple enough. It is just one part each of vodka, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream, and you can build it in the glass, but there is a technique to help you get the best results. Start off with a chilled rocks glass. Add some fresh ice. Avoid smaller cubes or crack ice to slow down the dilution of your drink. Pour the vodka and coffee liqueur into the glass and give it a quick stir. Then slowly pour in the cream. You can serve it like this and let your guest stir it, or you can do it.

Getting Creative with the White Russian

With only three ingredients, the White Russian drink is just begging for a few twists. Yeah, you can change the heavy cream for half & half, or even milk, if you want to, but there are so many other things you can do to make this classic cocktail really stand out. Here are some popular variations of the drink to get you thinking:

  • Use rum instead of vodka. Since Kahula, a popular coffee-flavored liquor most commonly used in a White Russian, already contains rum, why stick to the same type of spirit?
  • If you tend to enjoy less sweet cocktails, skip the coffee liqueur’s sweetness, and use cold brew instead. You can always add a little simple syrup if you need a touch of sugar.
  • Make it a shake. Blend two ounces each of vodka and coffee liqueur with two scoops of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate adult milkshake.

Tips For Making and Serving a White Russian

  • Use a spoon to help you “float” the heavy cream. Pouring the heavy cream slowly over the back of a spoon will help you keep the cream separate and make for a fancy presentation.
  • Make it a Black Russian instead. You can save a lot of calories and fat by leaving out the cream altogether. You can mix up a carafe of Black Russians in advance and let your guests choose whether they want to add cream to make it a White Russian.

Check out all of our other great cocktail recipes on YouTube.


Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Ice
  • Vodka
  • Kahlua
  • Cream
White Russian drink ingredients

How to Make a White Russian

  1. Fill an old fashioned glass with ice and pour the vodka over the ice.
    pouring vodka over ice in a glass
  2. Pour Kahlua into the glass.
    pouring Kahlua over vodka and ice in a glass
  3. Pour cream into the glass.
    pouring cream over Kahlua, vodka, and ice in a glas
  4. Stir and serve.
White Russian drinks in old fashioned glasses

Recipe Variations

  • Cream too heavy? Use half-and-half or milk for a lighter and lower-fat cocktail.
  • No Kahlua? Use Tia Maria, Kapali, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, or other coffee liqueurs instead of Kahlua.
  • Don’t like coffee? Use Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of Kahlua.
  • Want a holiday drink? Use eggnog instead of cream.
  • Garnish this coffee cocktail with whipped cream!
three White Russian cocktails, one stirred

Enjoy making drinks? Try these easy cocktail recipes!

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Coffee Drinks

Be sure to check out more of my easy cocktail recipes and the best drink recipes here on CopyKat.com!

White Russian drink on a serving tray

White Russian

A creamy Kahlua White Russian cocktail is a wonderful drink to enjoy for any occasion.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cocktail, White Russian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 197kcal


  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1 ounce Heavy cream


  • Fill an old fashioned lowball glass with ice.
  • Pour vodka over the ice.
  • Pour Kahlua over the vodka.
  • Pour cream over the Kahlua.
  • Stir and enjoy!


Recipe Variations
  • Substitute half-and-half or milk for the cream a lighter and lower-fat cocktail.
  • Substitute Tia Maria, Kapali, Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, or other coffee liqueurs instead of Kahlua.
  • Substitute Bailey’s Irish Cream for the Kahlua if you do not enjoy the coffee flavor.
  • Substitute eggnog for the cream to make a Christmas holiday cocktail.


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 26mg | Potassium: 74mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Calcium: 64mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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