Sip on a creamy White Russian, with vodka, Kahlúa, and lightly whipped cream. A perfectly sweet dessert drink, almost like coffee with cream and sugar but so, so much more!

White Russian, separated to show the layers.

Snuggle up with a blanket, a warm fire, and a creamy White Russian. This easy cocktail is rich, sweet, and satisfying, and makes a great dessert or after dinner drink. I think you’re going to love this rather decadent cocktail!

Kahula, vodka, and cream cocktails on a tray with a blue background.

About this White Russian recipe

A White Russian is simple: vodka, coffee flavored liqueur, and cream. If you’ve heard of a Black Russian, it’s the same drink without cream. Neither cocktail has anything to do with Russia, other than the fact that the main ingredient is vodka, a traditional Russian beverage.

One of my most popular recipes is for a Hot White Russian, a sweet warm mug of deliciousness on a cold evening, a great adult alternative to hot cocoa. And a perfectly chilled White Chocolate White Russian is so delightful, too.

According to Thrillist, the best vodka for a White Russian is cloud-distilled Aermoor, with flavors of “buttered popcorn, vanilla frosting and birthday cake” from Hilton Head Distillery. Tito’s is great mid-range brand, too, but I’m sure you have your favorite brand. 

You can make a White Russian in about 2 minutes. Simply pour vodka and Kahlúa into a couple of lowball glasses with ice, and top with very lightly whipped heavy cream.

White russian drink being made.

To keep the layers separate, pour the cream over the ice cubes or a spoon so it floats on top.

Of course it’s absolutely wonderful if you skip the whipping step, too. If you pour the cream in slowly and carefully, you’ll still get these beautiful layers. 

Brown and white cocktail on a tray.

And I’ll let you in on a secret, I often make this drink with 2% milk. I know, it’s like a crime! But it’s delicious drink even with a lower fat content. No judgment zone, right?

Enjoy!

Light brown drink on ice.

What’s in a White Russian?

  • Vodka
  • Kahlúa, or another coffee liqueur
  • Heavy cream
  • Ice cubes

FAQs

What’s the difference between a White Russian and a Mudslide?

A mudslide has Irish cream liqueur in it and a White Russian uses heavy cream. So to make this recipe into a mudslide, you’ll omit the heavy cream and substitute an ounce of Irish cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s, for each drink.

What’s the difference between a Black Russian and a White Russian?

A Black Russian does not contain cream, so it is just ice, coffee liqueur, and vodka. The addition of heavy cream to the mix makes it a White Russian.

Are you supposed to mix a White Russian?

This is completely dependent on personal preference! I always mix mine, but some people prefer it to be kept in layers. Try one of each and decide what you like best!

Ingredients needed for a white russian.

How to make this cocktail your own

  • To lighten the calorie count, use half and half or even 2% or whole milk. Milk won’t float as nicely but it still tastes great. 
  • Too strong for you? Reduce the amount of vodka and Kahlúa and increase the cream. You can experiment with the ratio until you find what tastes best for you. 
  • Like a frozen White Russian? Much like a milkshake, add all of the ingredients, including the ice, to a blender and process until it reaches the desired consistency. Add more ice or cream as desired. Ice will make it thicker, cream will make it thinner. Don’t over blend, or you’ll have whipped cream!
Overhead view of a drink on ice, garnished with coffee beans.

Make-Ahead Tips

I would recommend making White Russians right before serving. It’s super quick to make. You can whip the cream ahead and keep it in your fridge until serving.

White Russian, partially mixed.

Try a new cocktail today!

I’m sure you’ll want to try one of these delicious cocktail recipes:

Beautiful layered dark brown and white drink against a blue background.
A white Russian cocktail in a short glass, with coffee beans scattered around it.

White Russian Recipe

Yield: 2 cocktails
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Sip on a creamy White Russian, with vodka, Kahlúa, and lightly whipped cream. A perfectly sweet dessert drink, almost like coffee with cream and sugar but so much more!

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces Kahlúa, or another coffee liqueur
  • 4-5 ounces heavy cream, lightly whipped (optional, see note)
  • Ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Fill two lowball glasses with ice cubes.
  2. Add 2 ounces vodka and 2 ounces Kahlúa to each glass.
  3. Top each drink evenly with lightly whipped heavy cream (see note). If you want to have visual separation between the layers, pour the whipped cream over the ice cubes or a spoon to avoid having it sinking down too quickly.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Whip the cream very lightly until it just starts to become a bit more dense. You can add it without whipping but it will mix with the other ingredients faster.
  • Substitute half and half or whole milk. Milk won't float as nicely but it will still taste nice.
  • Make a Mudslide by omitting the cream, and substituting one ounce of Irish cream liqueur in each drink.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1410Total Fat: 108gSaturated Fat: 69gTrans Fat: 4gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 337mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 0gSugar: 37gProtein: 9g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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