This pumpkin spice white russian is a Fall spin on a classic cocktail. It's creamy and smooth with fragrant coffee and warming pumpkin spices. This cocktail is basically a warm hug in a glass.
This drink is my favourite pumpkin spice cocktail to date. It’s simple, elegant, and full of so much flavour. It tastes like a fancier iced pumpkin spice latte.
I've waited all year for an appropriate time to make this drink. NOW IS THE TIME. I mean, I'm already putting pumpkin spice in every dessert so naturally, it was time for a cocktail as well.
This drink will be going on my Thanksgiving dinner table and I'm positive it will be a hit even with people who don't like pumpkin spice lattes.
White russian cocktails have quickly become one of my favourites because of their simplicity and elegance. That beautiful coffee aroma smells SO good and the creaminess takes away the edge from the vodka.
What is a white russian cocktail?
A white russian is a simple and easy-to-make cocktail made by mixing together vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. It’s served in an old fashioned glass on the rocks. The taste is fragrant with coffee and the texture is creamy and smooth.
- Coffee liqueur - I use Kahlua but any coffee liqueur of your choice works.
- Vodka - This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It will not be a strong taste in this cocktail unless you want to make it stronger.
- Pumpkin pie spice - If you don't have a pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice seasoning, just mix together 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, and ½ teaspoon allspice. Use ½ teaspoon of this mixture for each cocktail.
- Heavy cream - Regular milk also works but your cocktail will just be less creamy. I would highly recommend using heavy cream, whipping cream, or half and half.
- Ice - You'll need regular ice cubes in your cocktail shaker and also ice in your cocktail glass if you'd like. I made extra large ice cubes with my Peak ice cube tray to put in my glasses because it looks extra fancy and displaces the perfect amount of liquid for this recipe to fill a 12 oz old fashioned glass.
- Garnish - This is optional but I like to sprinkle the cocktails with some extra pumpkin spice and garnish with a cinnamon stick which doubles as a stir stick.
Barware & Glassware
To measure out single and double shots of liquid quickly, I used a stainless steel jigger which gives me the perfect 1 oz and 2 oz pours that I can dump straight into my cocktail shaker. The pretty antiqued gold shaker I used here is a special collaboration between Crate & Barrel and Frye - stunning!
I served my pumpkin spice white russians in these 12oz old fashioned rocks glasses with a studded design. The detail of the glasses make them shimmer and they're also the perfect size for this cocktail. I served everything on a round wooden platter to play off the warmth of the drink.
How to make a pumpkin spice white russian
- Into the cocktail shaker: Add coffee liqueur, vodka, pumpkin spice, and cream into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake: You want to mix the spices thoroughly for maximum pumpkin spice flavour and to avoid graininess.
- Pour over ice: One extra large ice cube looks elegant but regular ice cubes also work.
- Garnish: Sprinkle each drink with extra pumpkin spice and add a cinnamon stick that can also be used as a stirring stick.
How to serve your pumpkin spice white russian cocktail
White russians are typically served in an old fashioned glass, also known as a rocks glass or low ball glass. These are short glasses that hold about 8-12oz of fluid and you're probably most familiar with them holding a neat pour of whisky on ice.
Another way to serve this pumpkin spice white russian is to shake all the ingredients together except for the cream and pour it into the glass first. Gently pour the cream on top of the dark liqueur for a colour block effect. Have your guests give their drink a quick stir to mix the layers together before sipping (a perfect use for that cinnamon stick garnish!).
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you absolutely don’t need to have a cocktail shaker to make most drinks. Shaking the cocktail helps infuse the cream with the pumpkin spices and ensures everything is mixed thoroughly but a dedicated cocktail shaker is not needed. You can shake everything up in a mason jar or anything jar with a tight-fitting lid. Or simply stir everything together very well.
Kahlua is a true coffee liqueur that is much stronger in flavour than Baileys. Baileys Irish Cream is already mixed with cream so the taste is more subtle. In a white russian cocktail, you’re already using cream so it can handle a strong coffee flavour. You could use Baileys if you wanted a sweeter and lighter drink without a true coffee flavour but Kahlua or something similar is highly recommended.
More holiday cocktails to try
Pumpkin Spice White Russian
- 1 oz coffee liqueur, e.g. Kahlua
- 1 oz vodka
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 oz heavy cream
- Ice cubes
- Cinnamon sticks, optional for garnish
- Add coffee liqueur, vodka, pumpkin pie spice, heavy cream, and ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake together for about 10 seconds.
- Open the pouring spout of the shaker and pour cocktail into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.
- Garnish with a dusting of pumpkin pie spice and a cinnamon stick.