A wooden stirrer mixes a tumbler filled with homemade kahlua, vodka, and cream into a white russian drink.

If you are a coffee lover and you’ve never had a White Russian, then you are sorely missing out! A White Russian is like a creamy, boozy latte that you serve over ice. Some folks swear it tastes like chocolate milk, others say it tastes like a creamy coffee house drink, and I say it tastes delicious either way!

The best part of a White Russian is that it takes only three ingredients to make it—coffee liqueur (AKA: kahlúa), vodka, and heavy cream. It sounds too simple to be delicious, but magic happens when you combine those ingredients, and we’re going to teach you how to be a bartending magician! Let’s get mixing.

Overhead of a bottle of homemade coffee liqueur lying beside a white russian on the rocks.

What is a White Russian?

A White Russian is a chilled cocktail of vodka, coffee-flavored liqueur, and heavy cream served over ice. It only needs a few ingredients, and takes just a minute to mix up. Plus, a White Russian tastes like a boozy latte or coffee milkshake—what’s not to love?

What’s the difference between a black and White Russian drink?

The only real difference between a Black Russian and a White Russian cocktail is the addition of cream. The black version is made of only Kahlua and vodka—no dairy!

How strong is a White Russian?

There are two shots of alcohol in one small low-ball glass, so it’s pretty potent! Watch out for this one!

Protip: Make it stronger

Want something even stronger? Try a Baileys White Russian, and replace the cream with Bailey’s Irish cream (or another brand of Irish cream).

A bottle of homemade kahlua stands next to a fully mixed white russian drink.

What is a White Russian cocktail made of?

There are only three ingredients to a classic White Russian cocktail: one part coffee liqueur, two parts vodka, and a splash of heavy cream. 

What alcohol is in it?

You’ll need both vodka and kahlua for this one. The vodka makes up the bulk of the drink, but all the coffee flavor goodness comes from the kahlúa. You can buy a bottle of coffee liqueur, or you can go ahead and make your own kahlua—it is easier than you would think!

How do I make a White Russian?

Are you ready for how simple this is? Leave the cocktail shaker on the bar—you won’t need it!

  1. Pour some vodka and kahlua over ice in a low-ball glass.
  2. Top with heavy cream and stir.

That’s seriously it!

Pouring cream into a rocks glass filled with homemade coffee liqueur, vodka, and ice.

Can I make a White Russian with milk?

You can, but it won’t be quite as thick or creamy. If you don’t want to use heavy cream, we recommend using whole milk if you can grab it.

Wholefully Protip

Swapping in flavored coffee creamer for the whole milk is a fun way to make White Russians more festive for the holidays.

A wooden stirrer mixes a tumbler filled with homemade kahlua, vodka, and cream into a white russian drink.

White Russian Drink Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A White Russian is a classic coffee-flavored cocktail that you need in your bartending repertoire! Let us show you how to make this simple drink.



  1. Add the vodka and Kahlúa to a low-ball glass with ice.
  2. Top with the heavy cream and stir.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 287Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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