This Pumpkin Spice White Russian puts a fall twist on a classic white Russian cocktail. This smooth cocktail features a delicious blend of creamy coffee, rich pumpkin, and warm spices. It's served on the rocks, finished with a cinnamon sugar rim, and garnished with whole cinnamon sticks. It truly has all of the cozy flavors of fall.
And if you're looking for a non-alcoholic drink fall drink, we have a few for coffee lovers. Incorporate the perfect pumpkin flavor into your morning coffee with our iced pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin spice bulletproof coffee.
Why this Pumpkin Spice White Russian Cocktail Recipe Works
Easy recipe: You don't even need the cocktail shaker for this tasty fall cocktail. Just create the simple syrup, put ice in a glass, pour in all of the ingredients, and give it a quick stir!
Perfect drink for the holiday season: The warm spices, sweet pumpkin flavor, and creamy richness make perfect sense for cooler weather. Pumpkin lovers live for this time of year when all of the delicious recipes call for a fun twist of added pumpkin or rich spices.
Tastes great as a virgin cocktail: Even sans alcohol, you can still enjoy a cream cocktail with coffee flavor and a seasonal twist of pumpkin pie spice!
Ingredients You Need
Here are the simple ingredients for this Pumpkin Spice White Russian Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Water: 1 cup of tap water.
- Maple syrup: Pure maple syrup adds natural sweetness.
- Pumpkin puree: Find 100% pure pumpkin puree in the baking aisle of your grocery store. (Be careful not to buy pumpkin pie filling.)
- Cinnamon sticks: Not only do they look great in the glass, they give added flavor to this fall cocktail recipe.
- Pumpkin spice: Although you're only using a teaspoon of pumpkin spice, we have plenty of other pie recipes on our site that will make use of it, like this pumpkin snickerdoodle cobbler.
- Vanilla extract: Substitute with ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste.
Pumpkin White Russian
- Vodka: You can use your favorite brand of classic vodka. Smirnoff is a popular choice and we'd recommend choosing 100 proof for a dry, smooth, potent cocktail without overwhelming the drink. Absolut has a vanilla vodka that could add an extra tasty twist, but you don't want it to overpower the pumpkin or coffee flavors.
- Kahlua: If you want to make this pumpkin cocktail non-alcoholic, omit the vodka and substitute the Kaluha for coffee and either whole milk or a little pumpkin spice coffee creamer.
- Pumpkin spice syrup: Use the pumpkin-flavored simple syrup
- Heavy cream: Also referred to as heavy whipping cream. The addition of the heavy cream is what differentiates a White Russian drink from a Black Russian cocktail.
Pro Tip: Add a little whipped cream (we have a recipe on our pecan pie cobbler) and extra sprinkle of pumpkin spice on top to garnish.
How to Make a Pumpkin Spice White Russian
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This Pumpkin Spice White Russian Cocktail is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Make simple syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine water, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, cinnamon stick, and pumpkin spice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool slightly before mixing with the drink.
Garnish glass. Pour a little maple syrup into a shallow bowl and do the same with a ground cinnamon and sugar mixture. Then take the rim of your glass and dip it gently in a bit of maple syrup and then the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Mix alcohol: Fill the glass with ice and pour the vodka, Kahlua, and pumpkin syrup on top. Stir to combine.
Finish and stir: Finish with a splash of heavy cream and serve with a cinnamon stick.
What is a White Russian?
A White Russian is a classic cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa), and cream or milk. It's a slightly sweet cocktail known for its smooth taste and is typically served over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass.
It has a coffee-like richness and creamy texture. Vodka originated in Russia in the 9th century, and its name is a variation on "voda," which means "water" in Russian. It's called a White Russian for its light appearance thanks to the cream.
You want a good quality vodka that's flavorless so it doesn't interfere with the coffee or pumpkin flavors. You also want it to be a vodka known for its smoothness. Some popular and widely used vodka brands for cocktails like the White Russian include Classic Smirnoff, Absolut, Grey Goose, Ketel One, Stolichnaya (Stoli), Belvedere, and Tito's.
A White Russian cocktail is a variation of the Black Russian, which contains only vodka and coffee liqueur, without the cream or milk. When the cream was added, it lightened the drink's appearance, hence the name change from "Black" to "White" Russian.
If you want to make this pumpkin cocktail non-alcoholic, replace the vodka with a vanilla cream soda and substitute the Kaluha for coffee and either whole milk or a little pumpkin spice coffee creamer.
Tools for This Recipe
Here are some basic kitchen tools you may want to use for this recipe — or most cocktail recipes. (May contain affiliate links.)
Rocks glasses: serve your pumpkin white russian cocktail in a classic whiskey glass, often called a lowball glass. We have these double old fashioned glasses as well as these pretty etched old fashioned glasses.
Long cocktail spoon: we use this gold bar spoon all the time. It looks pretty, stirs everything well, and even has a muddler at the end.
Pitcher: this acrylic pitcher is so pretty and functional. It's great if you're making a big batch of these (see section above) or if you're making another drink, like our apple cider sangria.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below and leave a comment in the comments section. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Seasonal Cocktails
Apple cider sangria is a tasty fall cocktail that's perfect for parties and making in bigger batches.
Maple bourbon smash is made with fresh muddled fruit and herbs, bourbon, and a splash of ginger beer.
A frosty Cranberry Moscow mule in a cold copper mug is perfect this time of year.
Pumpkin Spice White Russian
Pumpkin Spice Syrup (6 servings)
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Pumpkin White Russian
- 1.5 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Kahlua
- 1-2 ounces pumpkin spice syrup
- 1-2 ounces heavy cream
- Medium Saucepan
- Glasses for serving
- Combine 1 cup water, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, cinnamon stick, and pumpkin spice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Allow it to cool slightly before mixing 1-2 ounces of it in the drink. Store in a jar with an airtight lid in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- When you’re ready to serve, rim a glass with a bit of maple syrup and dip it in cinnamon sugar. Fill the glass with ice and pour the vodka, Kahlua, and pumpkin syrup on top. Stir to combine. Finish with a splash of heavy cream. Serve with a cinnamon stick