Coconut White Russian

White Russian cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and coconut milk. Vegan and dairy-free so that all your guests can have a glass!

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Photography Credit: Garrett McCord

Fun fact: The White Russian isn’t Russian at all, but rather an American invention!

The cocktail first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book, by Harry Craddock back in 1930, and it consisted of gin, vodka, and crème de cacao. At the time, vodka was an almost exclusively Russian export, hence the name.

Easy to make, the cocktail quickly became a popular. Over time, it evolved into the present day drink of vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream – or in our case, coconut!

Coconut White RussianI didn’t want my vegan and dairy-free friends to miss out on this classic cocktail of vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream, so I’ve reinvented it with coconut milk.

Not only does the cocktail retain its decadence, but the coconut flavor melds so perfectly with the coffee liqueur, making this an even better cocktail altogether.

A few notes before we get to the cocktail itself:

Please, please, please don’t use cheap vodka for this. It’s the main ingredient and you can’t make a good cocktail with bad booze. I highly recommend Tito’s Vodka as its widely available, affordable, and smooth.

Kahlúa is the go-to coffee liqueur for this cocktail, but Trader Vic’s Kona and St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur are also phenomenal choices that offer a richer, bolder coffee flavor for the same price. (Both can be picked up online or at nearly any liquor store.)

Coconut White RussianLastly, a number of popular variations of the White Russian exist. Try swapping out coffee liqueur with crème de cacao or amaretto, or going half-and-half with either of them.

A small splash of cinnamon or ginger liqueur is also a nifty addition, especially around the holidays.

For a traditional White Russian, swap out the coconut cream for heavy cream.

Lastly, if you’re feeling a bit bawdy, trade the vodka for bourbon.

Coconut White Russian Recipe

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  • Prep time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink

There’s a bit of an unspoken rule amongst cocktail connoisseurs that one shouldn’t measure out a White Russian. It should always be eyeballed according to the taste of the drinker. However, the following measurements are a perfect starting point for the novice.

Coconut milk sometimes separates in the can if it’s been sitting a while so be sure to give it a good shake before using.

For a traditional White Russian, swap out the coconut cream for heavy cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
  • Coconut milk, to taste

Method

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add the vodka and coffee liqueur and give it a quick swirl or two to mix. Top with a generous splash of coconut milk and serve. Stir together if you desire.

Coconut White Russian Coconut White Russian Coconut White Russian

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

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Coconut White Russian

One Comment

  1. Sabrina Quairoli

    Looks yummy. I love that you don’t use dairy. I’m going to try it. Thanks.

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