This Chai White Russian cocktail is made with almond milk and homemade chai syrup. It's really easy to make, vegan-friendly, and perfect for fall and winter! If you're a fan of the espresso martini, definitely give this one a try.
Why This Recipe Works
A fun twist on the classic - A classic white russian cocktail doesn't have any sweetener. It's made with just vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. If you're like me and like your cocktails slightly sweeter, definitely try this recipe! It uses chai syrup which gives it just enough sweetness and a lot of flavor that goes well with the coffee liqueur and cream.
Homemade chai syrup - You can use storebought chai spiced syrup but I highly recommend making your own! It's fairly easy to do and packs so much flavor. I first used the syrup in this Starbucks copycat Iced Matcha Chai Latte and was immediately hooked! If you want to use store-bought, Monin is always a great choice.
Vegan-friendly - The classic white russian cocktail is made with cream but this drink is made with almond milk which gives it a slight almond flavor that goes perfectly with the chai syrup and it makes it vegan!
- Vodka - Vodka is what the classic cocktail uses. If you prefer other spirits, tequila or dark rum would be great options. If you're a fan of tequila, check out this Tequila Espresso Martini!
- Coffee liqueur - You can use any coffee liqueur you like. I always have Kahlua on hand so that's what I use and recommend because it tends to be the one most readily available.
- Chai syrup - The syrup is made with maple syrup and whole spices. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorn, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and fresh ginger. I first made it for this Iced Matcha Chai Latte and have been using it ever since in lattes, cocktails, and other drinks.
- Almond milk - Choose a good quality creamy almond milk. I add almond milk to keep the drink vegan but you can also use regular cream which is normally added to a classic white russian.
The vodka and coffee liqueur are big parts of this cocktail so the best way to make this drink as similar to the original as possible is to use a non-alcoholic vodka alternative. There are lots of brands on the market these days so it should be fairly easy to find one. For the liqueur, use an equal amount of espresso as a substitute. Use a decaffeinated espresso if desired.
This cocktail gets mixed right in the glass so there is no need for a cocktail shaker. Simply fill a short glass with ice (I recommend a double old-fashioned glass) and add vodka, coffee liqueur, and chai syrup.
Stir to mix everything together, and top up with creamy almond milk. You can froth it to make it creamier and extra fancy. Garnish the drink with star anise or a cinnamon stick.
What to Serve With It
Cocktails like this one are best served with easy-to-eat appetizers. Something you can snack on while you're enjoying your drink. The best choice is something simple that's delicious but won't overpower the cocktail too much.
Serve the cocktail with dips or small bites. I like serving it with this Roasted Garlic Hummus or this Goat Cheese Lentil Dip with Dill and Capers. If you like simple finger food more, try these Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Grapes or these Smashed Potatoes with Sea Salt and Garlic if you're normally a fan of fries with cocktails.
Yes, you can use a non-alcoholic vodka alternative and espresso instead of Kahlua.
Technically yes, just adjust the amounts to however many servings you need. Keep in mind the cocktail is served with the almond milk floating on top so you might want to only mix the vodka, Kahlua, and chai syrup, and add the almond milk to each drink separately.
Other Fall and Winter Cocktails
This cocktail is perfect for fall, winter, and the holiday season. Below are five of my favorites that I think you will enjoy if you like this drink or want to try something new for the holidays. To see all cocktails, head over to the Cocktails category page.
Chai White Russian
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: mixing
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
This Chai White Russian Cocktail is made with almond milk and homemade chai syrup. It's easy to make and perfect for fall and winter!
- 15 cardamom pods (4g)
- 1 cinnamon stick (6g)
- 20 whole cloves
- ½-1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns (25 peppercorns)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp coriander seeds (40 seeds)
- 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped (if your ginger is organic and clean, you don’t have to peel it)
- 1 ½ cup water
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Chai White Russian
- 1 ½ oz vodka
- ½ oz Kahlua
- ½-1 oz chai simple syrup from my Iced Matcha Chai Latte
- 1 oz almond milk or cream
- Cinnamon stick (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
- Crush the cardamom pods slightly and add them to a baking sheet along with the cinnamon stick, whole cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds to a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. They should be very fragrant but be careful not to burn them.
- Add the toasted spices to a medium pot with ginger, water, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, lower the heat slightly and simmer for 10-15 minutes. The longer you simmer the syrup, the stronger the flavors will be. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the vanilla.
- Strain the syrup into a clean jar and allow it to cool before closing it with a lid and storing it in the fridge.
- You can let the syrup cool before adding to the cocktail but it's okay to use it right away.
Chai White Russian
- Add ice to a whiskey glass.
- Pour vodka, Kahlua, and chai simple syrup over the ice. Add more or less syrup depending on how sweet you like your cocktails. Stir with a cocktail spoon to mix.
- Optional: Use a handheld milk frother to froth the milk a little bit. This helps it to sit on top of the alcohol and be more creamy without using a heavy creamer.
- Slowly pour the frothy or regular milk over the alcohol and serve garnished with a cinnamon stick or with a straw.
Non-alcoholic version: Substitute the vodka for a non-alcoholic vodka alternative and the coffee liqueur for espresso or ristretto in a 1:1 ratio.
Keywords: vegan, chai white russian
The chai syrup was delicious! It worked really well in this cocktail.