Transform this classic rich and creamy cocktail into a holiday drink by mixing in a homemade ginger-infused simple syrup to create a gingerbread white Russian.

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Close up side view of a prepared gingerbread white Russian, showing off the creamy pale gold color.

About Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail

Enjoy this classic creamy cocktail with a holiday spin by infusing a traditional white Russian with homemade gingerbread simple syrup!

What is a white Russian cocktail?

Traditionally, a white Russian is a cocktail mixed with vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream that’s served over ice in an old-fashioned glass. When prepared, it can either be shaken in a cocktail shaker (as pictured here) or the cocktail ingredients can be poured in such a way that the cream and alcohol create visual layers.

As for the name, the “white” part has to do with the heavy cream, and the “Russian” part is merely because some of vodka’s origins are rooted in Russia. The cocktail itself was first created and served at the Hotel Metropole in Belgium during the 1940s.

What’s in a gingerbread white Russian?

To make this holiday-themed white Russian cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Water, dark brown sugar, fresh minced ginger, and vanilla – These ingredients are cooked together to create a custom gingerbread simple syrup that’s used to flavor this cocktail. You also substitute all of these ingredients for a storebought gingerbread simple syrup.
  • Vodka – A classic cocktail ingredient. Feel free to use any brand of vodka you’d like – especially if you can get your hands on gingerbread or whipped cream vodka! – but I tend to stick to brands like Smirnoff when making mixed drinks.
  • Heavy whipping cream – The key ingredient that makes this a “white” Russian. If heavy cream is too, well, heavy for you, you can substitute this for milk or other dairy alternatives – just keep in mind that a thinner cream may result in less of a layering effect within the drink.
  • Kahlua – Another staple to a white Russian: coffee liqueur.
  • Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks – Totally optional but adds delicious flavor and fun holiday themes!
Side view of two prepared gingerbread white Russian cocktails, garnished with large cinnamon sticks, and pictured with drink mixing tools, a cocktail shaker, and a gold towel.

How long is a white Russian good for?

For best results, I recommend enjoying this drink when it’s freshly mixed. However, you can mix these drinks up to 8 hours in advance, storing them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just keep in mind that the drinks may separate over time and require a quick stir before being served. TIP: You can avoid this by waiting to pour in the heavy cream until just before serving.

Notes & tips for a gingerbread white Russian

  • If you’d like, you can add all of the cocktail ingredients (vodka, prepared gingerbread syrup, Kahlua, and heavy cream) to the cocktail shaker together instead of pouring the heavy cream separately.
  • You can also skip stirring the drink at the end in order to keep the iconic white Russian layered look.
  • For some festive flair, serve this cocktail with baked gingerbread cookies as a garnish!
Top down view of two prepared gingerbread white Russian cocktails, garnished with large cinnamon sticks floating on top.

More delicious gingerbread recipes

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How to make a gingerbread white Russian

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Prepare the Gingerbread Simple Syrup by bringing water, dark brown sugar, ginger, and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in the sugar until dissolved, then let the sauce simmer for a while. When done, strain the syrup into a cup or jar and discard any solids. Let the syrup cool completely before using.

Step 2 – Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the following ingredients: vodka, gingerbread simple syrup, and Kahlua. Shake everything together until combined.

Step 3 – Divide the gingerbread white Russian evenly between two glasses, then pour in heavy cream. If desired, stir the drink until incorporated and garnish each glass with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks (both optional).

Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Close up side view of a prepared gingerbread white Russian, showing off the creamy pale gold color.
5 from 1 vote

Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail

5 mins prep + 10 mins cook
761 kcal
Yields: 2 cocktails
Transform this classic rich and creamy cocktail into a holiday drink by mixing in a homemade ginger-infused simple syrup to create a gingerbread white Russian.

Ingredients 

Gingerbread Simple Syrup
Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail
  • 8 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces gingerbread simple syrup
  • 3 ounces Kahlua
  • 4 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

For the Gingerbread Simple Syrup
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add water, dark brown sugar, ginger, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil.
    1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes.
  • Optional: Pour mixture through a mesh strainer into a jar or cup; discard ginger and any solids caught by strainer.
  • Let cool completely before using.
For the Gingerbread White Russian Cocktail
  • Fill two cocktail glasses halfway with ice, then set aside.
  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vodka, gingerbread simple syrup, and Kahlua. Shake well.
    8 ounces vodka, 4 ounces gingerbread simple syrup, 3 ounces Kahlua
  • Pour gingerbread white Russian evenly between the two glasses.
  • Hold a spoon over mouth of a glass, upside down. Very slowly, pour heavy cream over back of spoon so that cream slides off into glass. Repeat for both drinks. Drinks can be left layered or stirred to incorporate (as pictured).
    4 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • If desired, garnish drinks with ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks.
    ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 761kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 833IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 0.4mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy