Sneaky Pete Rye Whiskey Cocktail

Sneaky Pete Cocktail Recipe

 The Spruce

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
246 Calories
4g Fat
17g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 246
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 56mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 138mg 11%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 172mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Think of the sneaky Pete as the whiskey version of a white Russian. It's perfect for dessert, a nightcap, or anytime you want an easy, cozy, feel-good drink.

Either milk or cream can be used in this cocktail, it just depends on how thick you prefer your creamy drinks. Keep in mind that it will dilute as the ice melts. Using an ice ball or large ice cubes will slow down the dilution.

"The sneaky Pete is an excellent variation on a white Russian. The spice of the rye whiskey makes an excellent companion for the coffee liqueur. Add the silky and expanding quality of the cream and you have quite a nice cocktail. This recipe is great for a dessert cocktail with very little added sugar." —Sean Johnson

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur

  • 1 ounce ​rye whiskey

  • 4 ounces milk or 2 ounces cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sneaky Pete cocktail recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Pour the coffee liqueur into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.

    Pour coffee liqueur into a glass with ice cubes
     The Spruce
  3. Add the rye whiskey and milk.

    Add milk and rye whiskey
     The Spruce
  4. Stir well.

    Stirring Sneaky Pete cocktail
     The Spruce
  5. Serve and enjoy.

    Sneaky Pete cocktail recipe
     The Spruce

Sneaky Pete

The term "sneaky Pete" was often slang for cheap booze or fortified wine. But it also may be applied to good-tasting drinks that sneak up on you when you don't realize the amount of alcohol you are imbibing.

In addition to this recipe made with coffee liqueur, whiskey, and milk, you will see versions that are fruit-juice-based drinks with other forms of alcohol. Some are even frozen slushy drinks. If you plan to order a sneaky Pete at a bar, you should specify exactly what you expect. You may also end up in a debate with your guests over whether this cocktail is what they were envisioning for a sneaky Pete.

What Is Rye Whiskey?

Rye whiskey from the U.S. is made with a mash of at least 51 percent rye. George Washington made rye whiskey on his Mount Vernon estate, and today a craft distillery produces it there. Rye whiskey has a spicier or fruitier flavor than bourbon, which is also sweeter than rye. Canadian rye whisky is also available but doesn't have a set percentage of rye required. As a result, Canadian ryes may have far more corn and very little rye.

What Is Coffee Liqueur?

The most popular brands of coffee liqueurs are made with rum, sugar, vanilla, and coffee. It is very easy to make your own coffee liqueur with cold-brewed coffee, sugar, and a vanilla bean. You can make it with rum or with vodka. It's best to let it age for two weeks before enjoying it.

How Strong Is the Sneaky Pete?

Let's assume that you use a coffee liqueur that is 20 percent ABV and an 80-proof whiskey to mix up your sneaky Pete. In this case, you can estimate the drink to have an alcohol content of around 9 percent ABV (18 proof). It is a very gentle whiskey drink and a nice, casual sipper.