How To Make a White Russian and Variations

A White Russian is a sweet, creamy drink that is often served for dessert or after dinner. This classic drink is simple to make, and forms the basis for many variations and related drinks. Here's how to make a White Russian:

Ingredients and supplies:

  • Ice cubes, enough to fill the glass
  • 1 ounce to 1 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream or Bailey's Irish Cream
  • Highball, cocktail, or old-fashioned glass
  • Stirrer or swizzle stick
  • Maraschino cherry for garnishing the glass (optional)
  • Cocktail straw (optional)


  1. Begin filling the glass. Your first step is to fill the glass with ice.
  2. Add the ingredients. Now, pour an ounce each of vodka and coffee liqueur over the ice in the glass. This drink is best made with the best alcohol you can find. The amounts don't need to be exact, so don't worry about measuring them out perfectly. Add a little extra coffee liqueur than this recipe calls for if you prefer a stronger coffee flavor.
  3. Stir. Now, stir the ingredients with the ice cubes using a stirring stick.
  4. Top with cream. Top with heavy cream or, for a stronger taste, Bailey's Irish Cream. Do not stir once you've added the cream. The dark coffee liqueur and the vodka should be on the bottom of the glass, with the lighter cream on the top. If you want to make a lower calorie version of the White Russian, substitute the cream for skim or low fat milk. One variation of this drink, the Black Russian, does not require topping this drink with cream.
  5. Finish making the drink. Garnish with a cherry, if you like. It should be placed on the surface of the drink, where the ice cubes will keep it afloat. Add a cocktail straw, if you have any. This straw allows the alcoholic ingredients to be sipped from the bottom of the glass first, and also enables the drink to be stirred, if desired.
  6. Enjoy! Serve your White Russian before the Kahlua and vodka have time to separate; Kahlua will slowly sink to the bottom of the class, because it's heavier than the vodka. Drink responsibly.

This is the classic way to make a White Russian. You can also mix the drink in a cocktail shaker, which will result in a creamy froth on the top of the drink. This is often referred to as a “White Russian martini.” There are other varieties, too, such as a White Russian using crème de cacao instead of or in addition to the coffee liqueur. The drink should then be garnished with grated chocolate. A Hot White Russian is made using freshly brewed coffee, and is served in a mug and garnished with whipped cream.


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