Thursday, December 7, 2023

Gingerbread White Russian (Easy Cocktail)

Make the holiday season extra festive with a cozy Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail. This simple drink recipe features classic White Russian ingredients (Kahlua coffee liqueur, vodka & cream), plus an easy homemade gingerbread syrup to create the ultimate sweet & creamy cocktail. It's perfect for Christmas and New Year, but so good that you'll want to fix it on repeat all fall & winter long. (dairy-free and mocktail option)

Gingerbread White Russian Recipe (Easy Cocktail For Christmas & Winter)

I'm so excited to share this recipe with y'all! I'm obsessed with gingerbread cookie flavors this time of year, and this is one of my favorite cocktails to usher in winter and celebrate Christmas.

When the daylight wanes, the temps cool down, and the winter solstice approaches, there's nothing better than a creamy, slightly sweet drink (spiked with alcohol) to bring some much-needed comfort. 

As much as I love a classic White Russian cocktail (especially while watching The Big Lebowski or The Big Sleep), the extra gingerbread flavor makes it SO much better and is a great holiday twist!

Imagine taking a big sip of a regular one (with hints of coffee, sugar, butter, vodka, rum & heavy cream) and then taking a bite of a gingerbread cookie. That's what this drink tastes like!

The warm spices + molasses flavors perfectly complement the cream & coffee liqueur and combine to create the most comforting cocktail.

Easy Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail with Kahlua, Vodka & Whipped Cream (Perfect Drink For Christmas)

Want one now? All you have to do is make a batch of my gingerbread simple syrup on the stovetop (super duper easy) and your home will smell like heaven while it's simmering away.

Conjure up the scent of brown sugar, fresh ginger, and molasses, plus traditional gingerbread spices like cloves, allspice, peppercorns, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Do you feel the stress melting away yet?

Strain the syrup into a glass jar, cool slightly, and you'll be ready to fix this crave-worthy drink. I assure you, it looks & tastes quite fancy, but is actually very simple!

This is a fun drink to serve at parties during the Christmas season or when you're relaxing with family or friends. Everyone will be in the holiday spirit in no time!

You could even make a mocktail version for the adults & little ones with decaf coffee, simple syrup (or honey), gingerbread syrup, and cream. Pour it into cute cocktail glasses and garnish with whipped cream and mini gingerbread man cookies!

If you have any leftovers, use the syrup in other recipes like a gingerbread latte, gingerbread Moscow mule, hot chocolate, chai latte, or gingerbread pancakes.

I usually make a double batch because it disappears so quickly! It also makes a thoughtful, practical & unique Christmas food gift or addition to a homemade hot cocoa gift basket

How to Make a Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail Ingredients

Ingredients for a Gingerbread White Russian

To make this easy Christmas cocktail, you'll need the following ingredients (the topping & garnishes are optional but make the drink extra tasty & festive):
  • Vodka: Choose a plain vodka with a smooth taste. My go-to is Kettle One vodka, but Tito's & Grey Goose are popular options. 
  • Coffee Liqueur: Kahlua (the original version) is the best coffee liqueur for White Russians because it has a nice balance of sweetness, coffee flavor, and rum. If you're looking for something different, I've heard that Tia Maria's is a good alternative with a bit more vanilla flavor. Mr. Coffee is a newer one with less sugar that tastes yummy; however, the strong cold brew coffee taste overpowers all the other ingredients in this drink. It's better suited for espresso martinis. FYI: The cheap brands tend to be overly sweet & syrupy, so for this recipe, it's worth paying a bit more for a solid name brand. And if you need a different way to use up more of your Kahlua, give this frozen mudslide a try! 
  • Gingerbread Syrup: My homemade gingerbread simple syrup is the secret ingredient to making this drink over-the-top delicious. I HIGHLY recommend making a batch of it on the stovetop beforehand, as it's SUPER easy. If you insist on using a bottle from the store, Torani is the only half-decent one I've tried (and it tastes primarily like cinnamon, not gingerbread). Monin tastes like black licorice to me so I don't recommend it.
  • Cream: I generally use either heavy whipping cream or half and half. Both are delicious, but the heavy cream is richer so if you want an extra cozy drink, go with that. I don't drink whole milk, so if I'm craving a lighter cocktail, I make it with this plain cashew milk (I find it's creamier than almond milk). Coconut cream is another good option.
  • Whipped Cream, for topping (optional): I used canned whipped cream this time, but homemade whipped cream or dairy-free whipped cream works well. (This is my favorite coconut milk whipped cream & can be found in the freezer section of many grocery stores).
  • Cinnamon Powder or Ground Nutmeg: My favorite cinnamon powder that I use daily is Ceylon cinnamon powder, which is real cinnamon and has all those benefits you've likely read about. It also has a softer flavor. Freshly grated nutmeg would also work wonderfully here. 
  • Gingersnap Cookies, for garnish (optional): I prefer gingersnap cookies because they have a lot of spice & ginger flavor. I used the 365 brand from Whole Foods. They also have gluten-free gingersnap cookies that are easy to find. If you want a cuter aesthetic for the holidays, top the drinks with mini gingerbread man cookies like these gingerbread men shortbread cookies. Your local grocery stores and bakeries may have them on display for Christmas during November and December. 
  • Cinnamon Stick, for garnish (optional): I used cassia cinnamon for this photoshoot, but my favorite is Ceylon cinnamon sticks (the only true cinnamon), which have a softer flavor. 

Classic White Russian Cocktail Drink with Gingerbread Simple Syrup

How to Make a Gingerbread White Russian

Here's a brief rundown of how to make this drink. For the full recipe, scroll down to the printable recipe card below:

  1. Make the Gingerbread Syrup: If you haven't already, make the simple syrup. Get the printable recipe here. It takes about 10 minutes to prep with a mixture of whole spices, ground spices, molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger (so it's much more flavorful), 30 minutes to cook on the stove, and then at least an hour to cool (you don't want it melting your ice cubes). If you're using storebought syrup (it won't be as good), you can skip this step.
  2. Fill a Cocktail Glass with Ice: You'll want a short tumbler-style glass (like a rocks glass), but a small mason jar or juice glass works, too. Heck, even a cute ceramic mug! We're not shaking anything over ice, so you'll want plenty of cubes in your glass to keep the drink cold.
  3. Add the Vodka, Kahlua, Gingerbread Syrup, and Cream: Measure each ingredient over the ice in the order stated. Feel free to use half and half or a dairy-free cream/milk if you wish. Adding the creamy element last creates a beautiful swirling effect that's fun to watch. 
  4. Stir to Combine: Although the layers look gorgeous, we want everything mixed so you're not getting sips of just straight vodka or coffee liqueur. (We're not using a cocktail shaker in this recipe to keep it simple.)
  5. Top with Garnishes: Add your favorite whipped cream over the top. Then sprinkle crushed gingersnap (or gingerbread) cookies over the whipped cream, followed by a dusting of cinnamon powder, and place a whole gingersnap on top. This will sink into the drink over time or you can pull it out and eat it right away. 
  6. Drink Immediately While Cold: If the ice starts to melt it will dilute all the flavors, so it's best to drink it as soon as it's made (rather than putting it in the fridge for later). 

Mixing a Gingerbread White Russian Drink (Easy Holiday Cocktail)

Tips & Tricks

  • To save time, make the gingerbread simple syrup in advance and store it in the fridge until ready (it'll keep for at least two weeks).
  • Heavy whipping cream has a higher fat content so when you pour it over ice cubes, the cream can solidify a bit (looks like tiny chunks). If you want a more homogenized look to your drink, make it with half and half instead. You may be able to avoid this by straining the heavy cream through a fine sieve first, but I haven't tried it yet.
  • Some folks like to use vanilla vodka in sweeter drinks like this; however, I think most of them taste fake. If you want some vanilla flavor in this cocktail, try adding a splash or two of homemade vanilla extract
  • For a less sweet version, substitute 1 ounce of the coffee liqueur with 1 ounce of coffee, espresso, or homemade cold brew coffee. You may need to add a bit more gingerbread syrup to balance the stronger coffee flavor. Let me know if you try this!

Gingerbread White Russian (Easy Gingerbread Cocktail For Christmas & Winter)

What to Serve with a Gingerbread White Russian

This gingerbread syrup cocktail is basically a dessert drink so the obvious answer is to turn on some Christmas music (maybe a relaxing jazz) and serve it after dinner with more treats. 

Here are some ideas: chocolate-covered strawberries, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate ricotta cakegluten-free chocolate cake, or this easy chocolate cake. Perhaps some chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies, chocolate mousse, chocolate chip cookiespeanut butter balls, or a slice of easy fudge pie

How about a plate of warm coffee cookies, a batch of spice cupcakes, a slice of king cake puff pastry, a skillet pizookie, a bowl of warm chocolate chip bread pudding, or even colorful cream cheese sprinkle cookies

For something a bit less sweet, double chocolate banana muffins and candied pecans are also excellent choices. 

However, it's also yummy with a variety of appetizers. An easy one would be a meat & cheese platter (charcuterie board) or cheese platter with crackers & fresh sliced fruit. 

This may seem odd, but hear me out. One of my favorite foods to pair with a White Russian is bone-in buffalo wings! I used to work at a bar & grill and this was my go-to combo almost once a week. The hot sauce and crispy chicken contrast beautifully with the sweet & creamy flavors and the milk element helped calm down the spiciness slightly. 

If you made this Gingerbread White Russian, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below! You can also tag me #therisingspoon @therisingspoon on Instagram or leave a comment on individual pins on Pinterest if you made any of my recipes.

gingerbread white russian, gingerbread syrup cocktail, gingerbread drink, christmas white russian
Yield: 1
Author: Elaina Newton - The Rising Spoon
Gingerbread White Russian

Gingerbread White Russian

Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min
Make the holiday season extra festive with a cozy Gingerbread White Russian. This simple drink features classic White Russian ingredients, plus an easy homemade gingerbread syrup to create the ultimate sweet & creamy cocktail that's perfect for Christmas, New Year, and all winter long.


  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of vodka
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of coffee liqueur (like Kahlua)
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of cream (like heavy whipping cream, half and half, or dairy-free milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of homemade gingerbread simple syrup
Toppings (Optional)
  • Whipped Cream
  • Gingersnap Cookies (like this) or Mini Gingerbread Man Cookies (like this)
  • Cinnamon Powder or Ground Nutmeg (Ceylon cinnamon powder is my favorite & has a softer flavor)
  • Cinnamon Sticks


  1. Fill a short cocktail glass with ice.
  2. Add the vodka, coffee liqueur, gingerbread syrup, and cream.
  3. Stir well to combine all the layers.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream, cinnamon powder, crushed gingersnap cookie, a whole gingersnap (or gingerbread) cookie, and a cinnamon stick, if desired.


Gingersnap or Gingerbread: I prefer Gingersnap cookies because they are slightly spicier and have way more ginger flavor; however, you may want to use a mini gingerbread man cookie for aesthetic.

Dairy-Free Option: Nut milk tends to be thinner in texture than dairy, so I like to go with this cashew milk for a richer flavor & texture. Almond milk and coconut milk (or cream) are solid options; however, you may want to look for a thicker blend that's meant for lattes. Make sure it's unsweetened and unflavored. For dairy-free whipped cream, I like this coconut milk one that you can find in the freezer section.

Mocktail Version: Instead of the vodka & kahlua, use 4 ounces of regular or decaf coffee sweetened with a bit of simple syrup or honey, then the gingerbread syrup, and cream. Pour it into cute cocktail glasses and garnish with whipped cream and mini gingerbread man cookies!

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Make the holiday season extra festive & fun with a cozy Gingerbread White Russian. This drink recipe features classic White Russian ingredients (Kahlua, vodka & cream), plus an easy homemade gingerbread simple syrup to create the ultimate sweet & creamy cocktail. Top with whipped cream & a gingersnap or mini gingerbread cookie for a cute aesthetic. It's perfect for Christmas and New Year's Eve parties, but so good you'll want to fix it all fall & winter long. (dairy-free + mocktail option)

Gingerbread White Russian Holiday Drink Recipe (Easy Cocktail For Christmas & New Year's Eve)

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