White Russian – The Classic Cocktail Recipe You Need to Try

If you want a classic and indulgent cocktail, the White Russian is the perfect choice. The combination of vodka, Kahlúa, and cream creates a rich, smooth drink that’s hard to resist. The simplicity of its ingredients makes the White Russian accessible for both novice and experienced mixologists.

To make a White Russian, you only need three ingredients:

  • Vodka
  • Kahlúa
  • Cream

Mix these over ice in a rocks glass, and you have a creamy, satisfying beverage that’s perfect for any occasion. Highlighted in pop culture by “The Big Lebowski,” this cocktail has an enduring appeal that makes it a must-try for cocktail enthusiasts.


  • Rocks Glass: Essential for serving a traditional White Russian.
  • Measuring Cup: For precise measurements of the ingredients.
  • Bar Spoon: Used for stirring the cocktail.

This basic setup ensures you have everything needed to create a perfect White Russian.


  • Vodka: 2 ounces. Choose a high-quality brand for the best flavor.
  • Coffee Liqueur: 1 ounce. Kahlúa is a popular choice.
  • Heavy Cream: 1 ounce, for a rich, smooth texture.
  • Ice Cubes: Enough to fill a rocks glass.

These ingredients are fundamental for achieving the classic taste of the White Russian.


  1. Fill Glass with Ice: Use a rocks glass and add ice cubes.
  2. Add Vodka and Liqueur: Pour 2 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce of coffee liqueur over the ice.
  3. Float the Cream: Slowly pour 1 ounce of heavy cream over a spoon to create a layered effect.
  4. Stir and Serve: Stir gently to combine.

Following these steps will result in a beautifully presented and delicious White Russian.

Tasting Notes

The White Russian is a smooth, creamy cocktail. The vodka provides a robust base, while the coffee liqueur adds a rich, sweet flavor. The heavy cream ties the elements together, giving the drink a velvety texture.

Each sip offers a balanced blend of coffee and cream with a warming finish from the vodka.

Similar Cocktails

  • Black Russian: Made with vodka and coffee liqueur, omitting the cream.
  • Mudslide: Combines vodka, coffee liqueur, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
  • Espresso Martini: Vodka, coffee liqueur, and freshly brewed espresso.

These alternatives offer variations in flavor while maintaining the core ingredients of vodka and coffee liqueur.


The White Russian originated as a variation of the Black Russian. Belgian bartender Gustave Tops created the Black Russian in 1949. The White Russian later emerged, gaining popularity in the mid-20th century.

The cocktail saw a resurgence in the 1990s, thanks to its feature in the movie “The Big Lebowski.”

Quick Pro Tips

  • Chill Your Glass: Enhance the cocktail’s freshness by chilling the rocks glass before pouring.
  • Use Fresh Cream: Ensure the cream is fresh for the best texture and flavor.
  • Experiment with Ratios: Adjust the amounts of vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream to suit your taste.

When to Serve

The White Russian is ideal for evening gatherings or as a nightcap. Its rich flavor makes it perfect for colder months. Serve it at cocktail parties, holiday celebrations, or enjoy it as a dessert drink.

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