Dirty Banana Cocktail

Dirty banana cocktail with cherry garnish

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail

Popular on many Caribbean islands, the classic dirty banana cocktail combines rum, Kahlúa, or another coffee-flavored liqueur along with banana-flavored liqueur in an icy, creamy shake. You can add chocolate syrup for a true happy hour sweet treat, or up the tropical taste with fresh pineapple. Some recipes call for coconut cream while others add Baileys Irish Cream. Try out the basic recipe, but feel free to improvise with what you have on hand and enhance with additional ingredients according to your personal preferences.

Most people don't consider banana liqueur a liquor-cabinet staple, so be choosy if you purchase a bottle as many taste cloying and fake. Bols, which is rum-based, and Giffard, which is cognac-based, both produce good versions, and you should be able to find at least one of these brands in a well-stocked liquor store or online.


  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice cubes (use crushed or smash large cubes into smaller chunks)
  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum (1 standard shot)
  • 3/4 ounce Kahlúa (1/2 shot, or other coffee-flavored liqueur)
  • 3/4 ounce banana-flavored liqueur (1/2 shot, such as Bols or Giffard)
  • 1 ounce/2 tablespoons light cream
  • 1 ounce/2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Garnish: unpeeled banana slice, maraschino cherry

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a dirty banana cocktail
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Put 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of ice in the blender container.

    Ice added to blender for dirty banana cocktail
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Add the white rum, Kahlúa, banana-flavored liqueur, light cream, whole milk, and ripe banana and cover. Blend until smooth, increasing the speed as necessary to thoroughly pulverize the ice.

    Blended dirty banana cocktail
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Pour the drink into a (preferably chilled) small hurricane glass, martini glass, or other cocktail glass.

    Pour dirty banana drink into a hurricane glass
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Cut a slit halfway through a banana wheel and hang it on the rim of the glass. Top with a maraschino cherry if desired.

    Banana wheel and cherry hanging on the rim of the glass
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy.

    Dirty banana cocktail, ready to serve, with cherry and banana garnishes
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to substitute 1/4 cup of half-and-half for the cream and milk. For a truly decadent treat, substitute 1/4 cup of softened vanilla ice cream.
  • Serve the drink chilled but not blended by mixing the ingredients in a cocktail shaker or tall glass filled with ice, shaking vigorously, then straining it into a glass.
  • Substitute an aged dark rum for a more complex flavor or coconut rum for a different take on the classic.
  • Increase the strength of the cocktail by halving the amount of cream and milk or by using chunks of frozen banana and decreasing the amount of ice which dilutes the flavor.
  • At parties, serve a nonalcoholic version of the dirty banana for the kiddos by omitting the booze, increasing the cream and milk to 1/4 cup of each, and adding 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and 1 tablespoon of honey.

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