This Vegan White Russian is made with just 3 ingredients and is the perfect cocktail to make to get in the holiday spirit! It’s 100% dairy free, yet equally rich and creamy. Perfect for hosting, a nightcap, or sipping by the fire on Christmas Eve.
I don’t like to play favorites, but this vegan white Russian is my absolute favorite holiday cocktail to enjoy for Christmas. It makes an amazing night cap, is easy to make for a crowd in minutes, and is a festive cocktail to help get you in the holiday spirit.
All you need is 3 simple ingredients!
What’s in a White Russian?
- Kahlúa coffee liqueur – I personally always use a Kahlúa family friends gift me every year around the holidays. Store-bought Kahlúa does not contain any dairy or non vegan ingredients, but it is not considered a vegan product because the sugar refining process is not organic and therefore can be made with sugar that is processed through bone char to bleach it white. This is very similar to Oreos or any pre-packaged product containing sugar – they are technically free of animal products, but could contain sugar that is processed with animal byproducts. If you prefer, make your own vegan Kahlúa at home.
- Vodka – Vodka is naturally vegan! I don’t think I’ve come across a plain vodka that was not vegan. Vodka is generally made from fermented grains, like potato or corn which are both vegan. The liquids left over from that process are then used to make vodka. Use any plain vodka you’d like.
- Coconut milk – Classic white Russian cocktails are made with heavy cream. For the best vegan substitute, I highly recommend full-fat canned coconut milk. It’s equally as creamy and the coconut flavor is not overpowering.
How to Make a Vegan White Russian
- Add ice and Kahlúa to your favorite drinking glass. We prefer to use large ice cubes or balls in a rocks glass, similar to making an old fashioned, but any ice will work!
- Add vodka.
- Add coconut milk.
- Stir to combine. Then garnish and enjoy!
- Use oat milk, almond milk, or cashew milk: If you’d prefer a lighter white Russian, swap the full-fat coconut milk with a creamy oat milk, cashew milk, or almond milk. Just make sure they are unsweetened or your cocktail will likely be too sweet. You could also opt for a can of lite-coconut milk.
- Use Tia Maria: Tia Maria is another type of coffee liqueur that is certified vegan according to their website! It will add the same sweet coffee flavor to your White Russian and be equally delicious.
- Make it a mocktail: If you are looking for a non-alcoholic vegan white Russian, look no further! Substitute the Kahlua with DaVinci Coffee Liqueur Syrup and 1 shot of espresso instead of vodka. This version will taste more like coffee, but is seriously DELICIOUS!
- Make it a peppermint white Russian. Add ¼-1/2 teaspoon of edible peppermint oil. Note that peppermint essential oils are not edible. Please use a food grade oil. Serve with a candy cane for garnish!
Tips for Success
- Mix your coconut milk REALLY well. If you’ve cooked with canned coconut milk often, you’ll know that the white, hard coconut cream floats to the top of the can and the liquid coconut milk stays on the bottom.
In order to make your vegan white Russian cocktail as creamy as possible, it is very important that you thoroughly mix the coconut cream and liquid back together.
Depending on how cold your can of coconut milk is, you may be able to shake vigorously to make it creamy again. Or, my preferred method is actually putting the coconut milk into the blender and blending until super smooth and creamy. If it is not mixed well enough, the coconut milk will be slightly chunky and grainy in the vegan white Russian.
- Not all cans of coconut milk are made the same. I prefer making this vegan white Russian cocktail with the Whole Foods 365 Brand Coconut Milk. I don’t recommend the Thai Kitchen brand or the Chaokoh brand – both have an odd aftertaste and Thai Kitchen is quite watery.
- Do not skip ingredients. Since this vegan white Russian is only made with 3 ingredients, you really can’t skip them or make significant substitutions without changing the flavor of the entire drink. For best results, follow the recipe as written.
More Vegan Drinks and Cocktails You May Like
Vegan White Russian
- 3 ounces full fat coconut milk - **see notes for substitutions and tips
- 1 ½ ounces vodka
- 1 ounce coffee liqueur (Kahlua or Tia Maria) - **see notes for options
- Add ice into a drinking glass of choice.
- Pour Vodka, Kahlua, and coconut milk over ice. Stir and enjoy!
- Adjust the Kahlua to your sweetness preference. The sweetness level between different versions may vary widely. I use a homemade Kahlua made by our wonderful family friends!
- Coconut milk notes: Mix your can of coconut milk extremely well before pouring into your cocktail. If it is not mixed well, it will appear chunky and grainy. I like to blend mine in a blender first.
- Coconut milk brand recommendation: I prefer making this cocktail with the Whole Foods 365 Brand Coconut Milk. I don’t recommend the Thai Kitchen brand or the Chaokoh brand – both have an aftertaste and Thai Kitchen is quite watery.
- Coconut milk substitutions: Try light coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk, or almond milk. Use unsweetened plant milk for best results. These milks are lighter and will make a less creamy cocktail.
- Note on Kahlua: The store-bought brand Kahlua is not technically vegan because it uses a non-vegan process in refining sugar. If this does not bother you, the classic version is otherwise vegan and does not contain milk. Or, use Tia Maria (certified vegan coffee liqueur) or make your own homemade vegan Kahlua.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
Photography by: Baking-Ginger Studios