Learn how to make the best Amarula cocktail recipe.
Our quick & easy White Russian is one of our favourite cocktails with Amarula, a cream liqueur distilled in South Africa.
The boozy coffee drink can be served warm without ice or cold on the rocks.
This homemade White Russian Amarula Cocktail features premium vodka, Amarula cream liqueur, espresso coffee, milk and ground nutmeg.
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What Is A White Russian Cocktail?
A White Russian is a cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream served with ice in an old fashioned glass.
Traditional White Russian recipes typically feature vodka, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua or Tia Maria) and cream and have been referenced with a grin at bars as an “adult milkshake.”
The White Russian cocktail became popular in the ’60s when a bartender added a bit of cream to the Black Russian, rendering it white. Neither drink is Russian in origin, but the name refers to the vodka, a spirit often associated with the region.
The White Russian went on to suffer from an antiquated reputation until the 1998 movie The Big Lebowski breathed new life into the cocktail with Jeff Bridges’ character, the Dude, sipping it exclusively, all the time. It’s one of pop culture’s best drinks-related successes, right up there with Sex and the City’s impact on 90s martini culture.
Our Amarula cocktail pays homage to the White Russian by muddling premium vodka with whole milk, espresso coffee and South Africa’s iconic cream liqueur.
Join Dobbernationloves founder Andrew Dobson in the kitchen by signing up for a fun virtual cooking class! Classes begin with a cocktail that you can sip while preparing 2-3 recipes that are curated around a unique culinary theme. Check out our current Cooking Class Schedule!
Travel To South Africa To Taste The Best Amarula Cocktail
I love traveling to Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals all over Africa, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for local recipes via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa.
I landed in Johannesburg with my family, bleary eyed after 24 hours of flying time, excited to enjoy a two week road trip of South Africa. Our trip would have us visiting Kruger National Park, The Panorama Route, Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park, Tsitsikamma to Wilderness, Oudtshoorn to Hermanus, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, and Cape Town.
After we arrived at our first hotel I’ll never forget how our safari tour guide immediately welcomed us with a shot of Amarula Cream Liqueur, the country’s ubiquitous drink.
Amarula is a cream liqueur from South Africa made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the African marula tree which is also locally called the Elephant Tree or the Marriage Tree. It is similar in taste to Baileys Irish Cream.
Elephants enjoy eating the fruit of the marula tree. Because of the plants association with elephants, the South African distiller made the big beats its symbol and supports elephant conservation efforts, co-funding the Amarula Elephant Research Programme at the University of Natal in Durban.
Best Selling Vodka
In the 90’s vodka was all the rage, as martini bars sprung up in cocktail-loving North American cities like Toronto and New York.
Here are some of the world’s best selling vodka brands and our local small batch favourites that are perfect for muddling a White Russian:
- Grey Goose: the world’s top selling premium vodka has been produced in France since the 1990s.
- Belvedere: is a close second for world’s favourite premium vodka brand. The Polish rye vodka is named after Belweder, the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw.
- Stolichnaya: also known as Stoli, is produced in Riga, Latvia. The brand produces a wide variety of flavoured vodkas, perfect for seasonal cocktail parties.
- Titos: began as a small-batch vodka brand distilled in Texas. Today, it’s recognized as the best selling vodka in America. Titos is made from corn, making it a gluten-free friendly spirit.
- Ketel One: is a Dutch premium vodka brand with a flavour palette offering hints of honey and citrus.
- Absolut: is an iconic Swedish distiller and was the top selling vodka brand globally for decades. The brand offers a colourful collection of flavoured vodka bottles.
- Smirnoff: this Russian brand was founded in Moscow and today sells 39 different vodka flavours.
- Iceberg Vodka: the top selling vodka in Canada is made from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland.
- Dillon’s Distillery: This Beamsville, Ontario producer makes 2 small batch vodkas near Niagara.
- MoneyBag Vodka: From rock icon Gene Simmons of KISS. Crafted in Niagara with 100% Canadian wheat. Gold filtered and distilled 5 times for an exceptionally smooth taste.
Best Bartender Tools & Cocktail Equipment
Before hosting a swanky Amarula Cocktail soiree you’ll need to ensure you have the best bartender tools and cocktail equipment.
- Cocktail Kit: cocktail kits are the perfect gift for newbie mixology fans as they include basic bartender tools like a jigger, shaker and spoon.
- Cocktail Shaker: a bartender’s best friend. Purchase a premium cocktail shaker to muddle or shake up your favourite pink gin cocktails.
- Cocktail Glassware: make sure your bar is stocked with a selection of unique glassware to show off your favourite cocktail creations.
- Hawthorne Strainer: this unique strainer features tightly wound coils and perforated holes. It keeps ice and other large ingredients like lime wedges in your cocktail shaker rather than in the glass.
- Bar Spoons: slender and long bar spoons are a must-have when stirring drinks.
- Bottle Opener: easily open bottles of beer or cider with the flick of your wrist or purchase a corkscrew for fine wine.
- Pouring Spout: once you’ve opened a new bottle of gin insert these affordable pourers to make cocktail assembly a breeze.
- Cutting Board: purchase a petite cutting board for your bar to slice garnishes or citrus wedges like lime, orange, lemon or grapefruit.
- Ice Bucket: chill bottles of gin quickly in an ice bucket or keep by the bar when muddling gin mixers into cool creations.
- Ice Crusher: fans of the Mint Julep love an ice crusher.
- Ice Cube Kit: we suggest purchasing a selection of ice cube trays. Silicone styles are our favourite as they’re easy to clean and are available in various shapes and sizes.
- Jigger: use a jigger to accurately measure spirits, juices, syrups and shrubs.
- Juicer: invest in an electronic juicer or buy an affordable hand-held to easily juice fresh citrus like lemons and limes.
- Muddler: fans of the Mojito love a sturdy muddler to mix mint and lime. Muddler’s are handy for any cocktail featuring ingredients that need a pounding like fresh herbs or citrus wedges.
- Citrus Peeler & Zester: adorn your craft cocktails with a thick citrus peel or finer ribbons of lime or lemon zest.
- Rimmer: Bloody Mary and Caesar lovers should outfit their bar with a handy rimmer for salting and sugaring glassware.
White Russian Amarula Cocktail Ingredients
Our creamy Amarula cocktail recipe is made with fresh and premium ingredients.
- Vodka: we suggest using Grey Goose, Absolut or MoneyBag Vodka.
- Espresso: we suggest using a Nespresso machine to pull two shots of espresso.
- Amarula: the South African cream liqueur is prepared with marula fruit and has a sweet caramel flavour.
- Whole Milk: we suggest using whole milk as it thins out the thicker Amarula but you can also use half and half cream.
- Nutmeg: add a pinch of ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon to the cocktail before serving.
Amarula Cocktail Tips
This Amarula Cocktail recipe is easy to make at home, ready to serve in under 10 minutes.
We love serving this White Russian-inspired drink during the Christmas holiday season as it features festive spices like ground nutmeg or cinnamon. It can be served as a dessert cocktail, perfect for those craving a boozy adult milkshake.
Pair the festive holiday cocktail with some of our favourite Christmas recipes such as Festive Fresh Fig Frangipane Pistachio Tartlets, Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, Gevulde Speculaas Dutch Cherry Almond Spice Cookies, Ginger Spiced Banana Pear Muffins, Kardemummabullar Swedish Cardamom Buns, Christmas Cranberry and White Chocolate Muffins and Gianduja Lindt Lindor Chocolate Cake.
Our Amarula Cocktail recipe below is listed for one person. If you’re hosting a large gathering feel free to multiply the ingredients by the number of guests and muddle the drink in a punch bowl or jug rather than a cocktail shaker.
Serve the cocktail in your prettiest glassware with whole ice cubes if you prefer a cold drink or pour the hot espresso straight into the glass for a winter warmer.
If you’re serving the drink as an adult dessert and love ice cream we suggest serving it with a scoop of Maple Black Walnut Ice Cream.
You May Also Enjoy The Cocktail Recipes…
- Vegan Eggnog Aquafaba Cocktail
- Christmas Old Fashioned Cocktail
- Vodka Blood Orange Cocktail
- Clarified Gin and Milk Punch Cocktail
- Batida de Coco Brazilian Coconut Cachaça Cocktail
- Tommy’s Margarita Cocktail
- Raspberry Gin Fizz Chambord Cocktail
- Iced Irish Coffee Cocktail
- Vodka Mojito Cocktail Recipe
- Lavender Gin Cocktail Lemonade Fizz
- Malfy Grapefruit Gin & Rosemary Cocktail
- Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Cocktail
- Mint Chocolate After Eight Cocktail
- Brandy Manhattan Cognac Cocktail
- Baileys Apple Pie Cocktail Recipe
- Baileys Iced Coffee Cocktail
- Aperol Gin Cocktail
- Irish Whiskey and Apple Juice
How To Make A White Russian Amarula Cocktail Recipe
White Russian Amarula Cocktail
- Shot Glass
- Cocktail Glass
- Nespresso Machine
- Cocktail Shaker
- 2 oz Espresso room temperature
- 1 oz Amarula Cream Liqueuer
- 1 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Whole Milk
- Pinch Ground Nutmeg
- Prepare espresso shots in your Nespresso Machine and let cool to room temperature.
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add espresso, vodka, milk and Amarula. Shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds.
- Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg before serving.
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