How To Make A White Russian Drink At Home



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Our modern take on the classic white russian cocktail is the perfect alcoholic drink for coffee lovers.

Creamy and delicious, this white russian recipe is perfect for after dinner drinks, or as a holiday cocktail recipe.

We hope you enjoy our steps and tips for how to make a white russian drink at home.

white russian drink in glass.

What’s In A White Russian Cocktail?

A classic white russian cocktail has just three ingredients:

  • Coffee liqueur
  • Vodka
  • Cream.

The only difference between a white russian vs black russian is the addition of the cream.

We love a classic cocktail recipe, but we couldn’t resist giving this one a modern twist for the coffee lovers.

Our white russian coffee recipe has one extra ingredient to give it a little caffeine boost – a shot of espresso.

Love coffee cocktails? Other recipes to try include my Christmas White Russian, this frangelico espresso martini, my eggnog coffee cocktail and the siciliano.

white russian coffee drink in glass with milk.

Homemade White Russian Equipment List

To make a white russian at home, you will need:

  • Cocktail shaker (or glass)
  • Old fashioned (lowball) glass
  • Spoon

A cocktail shaker makes it super easy to combine your ingredients together. We love this one.

A cocktail shaker is great to have in the pantry and they make the perfect gift for friends and family.

If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can simply add the ingredients together in a glass and stir gently.

top view of white russian mixed drink.

Ingredients For A White Russian Recipe

The white russian ingredients you will need to make our modern white russian recipe are:

  • A shot of espresso coffee
  • Coffee liqueur
  • Vodka
  • Heavy cream

We have used Kahlua as the coffee liqueur in our recipe, but any coffee liqueur will work, you could even make your own.

Can you make a white russian with milk instead of cream? Yes! It won’t be as rich, but if you want to reduce calories in the drink, swapping out the heavy cream for milk is a good option.

You may notice the ingredients are the same as what is used in many flavored espresso martini recipes. The key difference is how the drink is put together.

White Russian Substitutions

Vegan white russian

To make a vegan white russian, simple replace the heavy cream with coconut milk or cashew milk.

Both have a creamy texture that works well in this cocktail.

Type of liqueur

If you don’t have Kahlua (or don’t like the taste), there are many other coffee liqueurs that work well with this alcoholic coffee drink including Tia Maria or a homemade liqueur.

Another option is to try a different liqueur altogether.

As this white russian recipe has a shot of espresso in it, you could swap out the coffee liqueur for something else.

Good options to try include Chocolate Liqueur, Chocolate Vodka, Irish Cream or even Rum instead of coffee liqueur!

White russian without cream

Our white russian recipe includes heavy cream, but there are other alternatives that work well.

Try half and half or even regular milk for a lighter tasting (and lower calorie) cocktail drink.

side view of white russian cocktail in glass.

How To Make A White Russian Drink At Home

Step 1 – Blend

The first step is to extract a shot of fresh espresso from your home espresso machine.

If you don’t own an espresso machine, replace with the strongest coffee you can make at home with a coffee maker.

Add the coffee liqueur, espresso and vodka together in a cocktail shaker and shake gently to blend.

BTW, you might be surprised how affordable an espresso machine is.

If you want to start making espresso or coffee cocktails at home, take a look at our reviews of the best espresso machines under $200 here or under $300 here.

Process shot for how to make a white russian drink.

Step 2 – Pour

Pour the combined liquid into 2 lowball tumblers or old fashioned whisky glasses.

Add cubed ice to fill the glass.

White russian alcoholic drinks are traditionally served in lowball, or old fashioned cocktail glasses like these ones. Any short tumblers will work.

Process step in kahlua white russian recipe.

Step 3 – Add cream

Finally, add cream to create your delicious white russian cocktail.

A good tip to keep the cream on top of the cocktail is to gently and slowly pour the cream over the back of a spoon into the glass.

It is best to drink the coffee cocktail without a straw, as the blended liqueur will mix with the cream as you sip for a smoother taste.

Process step pouring cream to make white russian with heavy cream.

Before You Go

We hope you enjoy making a white russian cocktail.

You can find more coffee drinks with alcohol here or see our popular list of different espresso martini recipes here.

See more great recipes with coffee here. If you want to make great espresso, read about the best espresso beans here.

More Espresso Coffee Recipes

If you loved this white russian cocktail recipe, here are some more great recipes with espresso to try at home.

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Did you make this? Please leave a star rating below or a review in the comments section.

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white russian drink in glass.

White Russian Drink Recipe

This white russian recipe is a classic after dinner cocktail with a modern twist for coffee lovers.
5 from 2 votes
Servings: 2 drinks
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


2 Cocktail tumblers


  • 1 oz espresso
  • 2 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 3 oz heavy cream
  • 1 cup ice cubes


  • Extract a shot of fresh espresso.
  • In a cocktail shaker (or glass) gently combine the espresso, Kahlua and vodka.
    1 oz espresso, 2 oz Kahlua, 1 oz vodka
  • Pour the combined liquid into your lowball tumblers
  • Top the tumbers with ice.
    1 cup ice cubes
  • Gently pour cream into the glasses for a perfectly layered drink.
    3 oz heavy cream


  • If you don’t own a cocktail shaker, simply add the ingredients to your glass and mix gently.
  • To ensure the cream stays on top of the cocktail, pour it into the glass over the back of a spoon.
  • For a lighter drink swap out the heavy cream for half and half or regular milk or reduce the cream amount.


Serving: 1drink | Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 57mg | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Rachel Rodda
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Did You Make This?Leave a comment and let me know how it was!
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Rachel Rodda

It's no surprise that as a former barista and founder of Creators of Coffee, I'm obsessed with all things coffee. I love to share easy and delicious coffee recipes, expert brewing tips and helpful coffee gear reviews with my fellow coffee lovers!

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