Here are all the most popular Kahlua drinks to use for this coffee liqueur! Try classic Kahlua cocktails from the White Russian to the Mudslide.
Got a bottle of Kahlua? You’re one step away from some of the tastiest sweet cocktails around. This coffee flavored liqueur was invented in Mexico in 1936, and spawned some of the most classic cocktails of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. The White Russian? The Mudslide? All classic cocktails brought to you with the magic of Kahlua.
Here are all the top most popular Kahlua drinks to make with this tasty liqueur! There’s everything from a classic Black Russian to a frosty boozy milkshake and a sophisticated coffee martini. Where there is Kahlua, there is fun! Let’s get to the drinks.
Arguably the most popular Kahlua drink? The White Russian! It takes just 2 minutes to make and hits the spot in any season. This cocktail mixes vodka with coffee liqueur and cream in a decadently creamy, searingly sweet beverage. Perhaps you know it from the 1990’s movie The Big Lebowski, but this drink has been around since the 1950’s. It’s a total treat, and couldn’t be easier to make.
History: The Black Russian was created in 1949 for the American ambassador to Luxembourg in a hotel bar in Brussels. Adding cream to make a White Russian started in 1955 in Oakland, California: a classic was born!
Right behind the White Russian in popular Kahlua cocktails is the Mudslide! Ever had a classic version of this drink? It couldn’t be more sophisticated…or delicious! It's shaken with coffee liqueur and Irish cream and served up in a cocktail glass. It’s more than a glorified milkshake: it’s classy and full of intrigue! Of course, you can make it frozen too: blend it up with vanilla ice cream.
History: The Mudslide was invented in the mid-1970’s on Grand Cayman Island at a bar called Wreck Bar. The story goes that a customer ordered a White Russian, but the bar didn’t have heavy cream. They did happen to be stocked with Irish cream: and the Mudslide was born.
Here’s a layered cocktail that’s mighty tasty: the B 52 cocktail! Yes, the B52 shot might be a little…pedestrian, some might say. But the pairing of Kahlua coffee liqueur, sweet Irish cream, and orange liqueur is close to perfection. The combination is so classy, we’ve recreated it here as a slow sipping after dinner drink in a stemmed cocktail glass. You can drink it either way, but we prefer slow sipping rather than downing it as a shot.
History: The most popular origin story for the drink is that it was invented in 1977 by Peter Fich at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada, who named it after the band The B-52s.
Here’s the Kahlua drink for coffee lovers: meet the Espresso Martini! This one is an ideal pick-me-up for a lazy afternoon or an after dinner drink…it even doubles as dessert! Bittersweet coffee pairs perfectly with the rich sweetness of Kahlua. Add vodka and the trio makes a full-flavored sophisticated drink that tastes like much more than the sum of its parts. It’s cool, frothy, and just sweet enough.
History: The Espresso Martini was invented in 1983. A bartender at the Soho Brasserie in London named Dick Bradsell created the drink for a patron who asked for a drink to wake her up.
This Kahlua drink will blow your mind with its creamy, chocolaty flavor: the Bushwacker! It's equal parts refreshing and rich: a mashup of a chocolate milkshake and piña colada. It’s lusciously smooth with notes of chocolate, coffee and vanilla. It’s perfect for sipping poolside or as a dessert drink any time you’re dreaming of sun.
History: It was invented in 1975 in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. The story goes that bartender Angie Conigliaro and restaurant manager Tom Brokamp named it after a guest’s dog, an Afghan hound named Bushwack.
Here’s a cool sweet treat in the form of a cocktail: the Black Russian! This classic cocktail from the 1950’s is the perfect after dinner drink or afternoon pick-me-up. It’s got just 2 ingredients, and almost tastes like a dessert. You might know its more popular cream-filled cousin, the White Russian. But the Black Russian is the original. We might even like it a little better.
History: This classic cocktail was invented back in 1949, when it was created in a hotel bar in Brussels for the American ambassador to Luxembourg. So, the drink is not Russian: it was named for the vodka and the black color of the coffee liqueur.
Here’s a 1980’s cocktail with a name that makes it sound deceptively potent: the Mind Eraser! This it’s a bubbly and refreshing coffee cocktail, beautifully layered in a glass. Essentially a fizzy Black Russian, it’s also fairly low alcohol for a cocktail. For all its bravado, it’s really not about to erase your mind…unless you drink several of these, which we find impossible given the high sugar content. This 1980’s charmer is definitely worth a try, especially if you’re a Kahlua lover.
Here’s a sweetly sippable cocktail that goes down easy: the Colorado Bulldog! The name shrouds this drink in mystery, but it’s simply a White Russian all dolled up with a splash of cola. Serve it over crushed ice with a cherry and a straw, and it’s a whole new drink! Honestly, it’s more like a root beer float than a cocktail! There’s not a lot known about the history behind this tasty concoction: but we’re here for it.
Does Kahlua go in coffee? The answer: A resounding Yes! This sweet coffee-flavored liqueur is at it’s best in a cup of joe, and it works any time of the day. Add it to morning coffee for a brunch pick-me-up, or serve it as a dessert drink topped with whipped cream like the popular Irish coffee. Anything goes, here! Add a hint of cream or just serve it black like a Black Russian: it’s delicious whatever variation you choose.
Have you tried the revelation that is Spanish coffee? Flaming Spanish coffee, that is? The name is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually an American spin on the Spanish concept of carajillo: spiked coffee. But this drink is extra-special. It’s got a caramelized sugar rim and is spiked with Kahlua, rum, and orange liqueur…and topped with hand-whipped fluffy whipped cream! The burnt caramel, citrus, bitter coffee and sweet cream all combine into a symphony of flavor.
History: This American-spin on Spanish coffee was nvented at Huber’s Bar in Portland, Oregon in the 1970's by co-owner James Louie.
Calling all coffee lovers! Here’s the caffeinated coffee cocktail for you: the Coffee Martini! It’s smooth, frothy and creamy: and the best part? A crunchy coffee bean rim. Watch out: these go down easy! Each sip is a burst of flavor, pairing bitter coffee with sweet vanilla, creamy chocolate and the fruity finish of Irish whiskey.
More about Kahlua
This special liquor has spawned loads of classic Kahlua drinks. But what actually is it? Here’s what to know about this coffee liqueur:
Kahlua is a coffee liqueur that’s made in Mexico. It’s made with rum, sugar, vanilla bean, and coffee. Contrary to what you might think, there’s no dairy! However per the official website, Kahlua is not vegan: one of the company’s suppliers uses a sugar refining process that is not vegan friendly.
Does Kahlua have caffeine? It does have some caffeine, but only about 25% as much as the same volume of coffee.
Fun facts: It takes seven years to make a bottle of Kahlua, because of the length of time it takes to grow the coffee beans in the shade (six years).
Does Kahlua go bad: The recommended shelf life of Kahlua is 4 years.
How much does Kahlua cost? It costs about $20 per 750 ml bottle.
What to use instead of Kahlua? Try other types of coffee liqueur for these Kahlua cocktails, like Tia Maria or Sheridan’s.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.