If you're craving a delicious and simple cocktail with next to no cleanup, this Baileys White Russian is the one for you. With the perfect taste of coffee and the sweet hint of Baileys, three ingredients never tasted so good.
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Introducing a twist on the classic White Russian cocktail, this White Russian uses Baileys instead of the traditional heavy cream. This sweet coffee drink is perfect to have instead of dessert and even better around the holidays.
Those who love coffee or sweet cocktails are bound to love this White Russian with Baileys.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
- A little history about the classic White Russian cocktail.
- My favorite techniques for keeping this cocktail ice cold.
- A few ways to switch up this cocktail with flavored vodka.
If you find this cocktail to your liking and are interested in learning about many more, check out my free bartender cheat sheet with 45 cocktails all in one place.
What Is A White Russian?
This Baileys White Russian is inspired by a classic cocktail that you know and love, the White Russian. According to the Oxford Companion To Spirits & Cocktails, the White Russian was born in the 1930s and started as an equal mixture of vodka, gin, and crème de cacao.
There was another similar drink at the time, known as the Barbara, which was two parts vodka to one part crème de cacao and cream.
Over the following few decades, the White Russian continued to develop into different forms until 1965, when the brand Southern Comfort gave us the White Russian we know and love today.
Ingredients You Need
Vodka: Vodka is a great liquor option for mixed drinks because of its neutral flavor, mild aroma, and clear color. Vodka also blends into the background of this cocktail.
Because of this, I’ve chosen an unflavored vodka for this version of the cocktail. With this being said, any brand of vodka you enjoy will work for this White Russian with Baileys.
Coffee liqueur: This is a liqueur that is low in alcohol that tastes, as you might guess, like coffee. These are usually made using a base spirit such as rum, tequila, or brandy, and then flavored and sweetened with a coffee flavor enhancer.
Kahlúa, Patrón XO Cafe, and Mr. Black are all great options for this cocktail.
Baileys Irish cream: This is the star of the show in this drink, giving it a unique spin from your traditional White Russian. Baileys Irish Cream is made with Irish dairy cream (which is said to be some of the highest quality in the world) and Irish whiskey and spirits.
This creamy and sweet mixture is a very versatile tool to have in your home bar. With hints of chocolate and vanilla mixed throughout, it adds a wonderful complexity to any drink it’s mixed with.
How To Make This Recipe
You’ll be amazed at how quick, easy, and mess-free this Baileys cocktail recipe takes to make.
1. To begin the process of making your drink, first add ice to a chilled lowball glass. For this drink, I highly recommend using larger ice cubes as opposed to pebble-shaped ice.
The larger the cube, the slower the ice will melt as you are drinking your cocktail. The heat from your hand will gradually warm the lowball glass and melt the ice, diluting the flavors of your drink, which is why bigger cubes are better.
Once the ice is in, you can pour in the vodka and coffee liqueur.
2. Next, top your drink with Baileys Irish Cream.
With this style of cocktail, known as the build-up method, it is key to pour the liqueur in last. The cream is lighter than the other two ingredients, so putting it on top allows for a nice visual appeal as it will slowly fall into the vodka and coffee liqueur.
A great trick, if you want a nice layer of Baileys on top, is to layer it using a bar spoon.
Now that all your ingredients are in, you have the option of stirring the drink with a bar spoon or serving it with a stir stick.
If you’re looking to make this around the holidays, you could try some exciting festive cocktail garnishes. A chocolate-sprinkled rim or a candy cane stir stick would be the perfect way to put the holiday spirit into this cocktail.
- You can choose to substitute the unflavored vodka for vanilla or caramel vodka to make a sweeter and more complex drink.
- To chill your lowball glass, place it in the freezer for 30-45 minutes before serving. This helps the drink stay super cold while you drink it.
This being said, if you don’t have time for this, you can fill the glass with ice and add water while you’re gathering the ingredients for the cocktail.
- This drink is great for a party because it is easy to make. All you have to do is line up as many glasses as you need and measure one ingredient at a time into them.
- While it may be tempting not to measure your ingredients, you’ll achieve the most balanced cocktail by using a jigger to ensure precise quantities are being used.
This isn’t the best drink to make ahead of time because the Baileys Irish Cream will sink to the bottom. Because it only takes a few minutes to make and is best enjoyed cold, I highly encourage you to make this drink directly before serving.
White Russians are typically served in rocks or lowball glasses. I prefer to keep my glass chilled, so the drink remains super cold.
Anytime is the best time. That being said, I find the sweet flavors from the coffee liqueur and the Baileys Irish Cream work brilliantly as a dessert cocktail or during the holiday season.
More Dessert Inspired Cocktails
Baileys White Russian (3 Ingredients)
- lowball glass
- Add ice to a chilled lowball glass.
- Pour in vodka and coffee liqueur. Top with Baileys Irish cream.
- Optionally, stir well using a bar spoon or serve with a stir stick.