The White Russian Is Our Official Cocktail Of Fall — Here’s Our Recipe

Have you had a White Russian recently? The answer is likely “no” because 1) it’s not a super mainstream drink and 2) we’re coming off a hot summer. But as fall settles in, it’s time to change that. Because this ’60s classic and drink of choice for Jeffery ‘The Dude” Lebowski is delicious-as-hell. And it’s not too tough to make.

All you have to do is fill a glass with some ice and ingredients, give it a bit of a stir, and enjoy. If you can pour things into a cup (or coupe), you can make these.

When it comes to the ingredients, you do really need to go high-fat on the cream. It creates a bolder emulsion and the right textural feel to the drink. The less fat your cream has in it, the worse these are going to be. That said, even if you’re using full-fat milk (3.5 percent), you’re still going to have an “okay” White Russian experience — just not the “full Lebowski.”

Enough preamble. Let’s get mixing!

White Russian

Zach Johnston


  • 2-oz. vodka
  • 1-oz. Kahlua
  • 1-oz. heavy cream (32%)
  • Ice

As we mentioned above, you need some serious cream for this recipe. Heavy cream is usually 32 to 35 percent milkfat. Half and half is a mix of whole milk and heavy cream and brings that percentage down to around 12 to 15 percent milkfat. It’s fine to make these with half and half, but it’s really not going to give it the punch — or mouthfeel — you want. The Kahlua and cream really shine together and help to smooth out any rough edges from the alcohol.

As for the vodka, I’m using Grey Goose because it’s delicious. Always use good vodka in cocktails — even when you’re making a cocktail that has bold flavors like this, where the vodka basically disappears.

Zach Johnston

What You’ll Need:

  • Rocks glass
  • Straw
  • Jigger
Zach Johnston


  • Prechill your rocks glass in the freezer (preferably overnight).
  • Fetch your glass from the freezer and fill 3/4 with ice.
  • Add in the vodka and Kahlua and then stir to combine.
  • Gently pour the cream over the top so that it floats.
  • Add the straw and stir once or twice.
  • Serve.

Bottom Line:

Zach Johnston

There are two aspects that make this a great drink. One, there’s a real heft thanks to that heavy cream that means you can only really drink one or two, which keeps your imbibing in check automatically.

The other aspect is that this is really satisfying with a touch of eye-opening buzz thanks to the coffee liqueur. It’s a dessert in a glass but strong enough to not feel overly saccharine. It feels like you’re getting a rich and creamy dessert course with the shot of espresso right in the mix. Even for such a heavy cocktail, it really works well after a heavy meal to brighten up your mood again.

Am I going to be making these in batches? No. The White Russian is a “one or two, both made fresh” sort of cocktail. It offers a warm hug of cozy sweetness, coffee, and cream with a little alcohol kick — making it a great cocktail for the rainy days and cool nights ahead.