Sombrero Cocktail With Kahlúa

Sombrero cocktail with milk floating on top

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
518 Calories
32g Fat
25g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 518
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 42%
Saturated Fat 21g 103%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 30mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 106mg 2%
*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.)

The sombrero is a wonderful way to enjoy Kahlúa with milk. It is an easy drink to mix up and makes an excellent after-dinner cocktail. It's also ideal for those times when you simply want a smooth, casual cocktail or something similar to, but lighter than, the white Russian.

Kahlúa is the most popular coffee liqueur on the market, and the sombrero is one of the brand's signature drinks, though it can be made with any coffee liqueur. No matter which one you choose, the recipe is incredibly simple: a shot of coffee liqueur on the rocks topped with cream or milk, which naturally floats on top. There are a few ways to change it up, too.


Click Play to See This Easy Sombrero Cocktail With Kahlúa Come Together

"Kahlúa and milk are classic indulgences. You can't really go wrong with proportions using milk, cream, or half and half. I like cream, personally. This is a very rich cocktail that is simply a white Russian minus the vodka. Adding vodka gives it an extra kick. As I said, no bad options." —Tom Macy

The Sombrero Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sombrero cocktail recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. In an ice-filled old-fashioned glass, pour the coffee liqueur.

    Coffee liqueur being poured over ice in tumbler

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Fill with cream or milk. Serve and enjoy.

    Milk being poured over Kahlúa in tumbler

    The Spruce Eats


  • If you would like to make your sombrero a little thicker, choose cream over milk. Half-and-half is a nice middle ground between those two options.
  • The sombrero is typically served unstirred; the cream is sort of the "hat" on top of the drink. In bars, a stir stick is often included so the drinker can stir as they please, and that's a great option when making it for yourself at home.

Recipe Variations

  • Coffee brandy was one of the original options for the sombrero. Though they're not numerous, there are a few brands available, including some made by craft distilleries.
  • Switch to almond or soy milk; the vanilla flavored versions are excellent for this drink. However, Kahlúa does contain milk proteins, so using that particular liqueur will not make the sombrero vegan or dairy free.
  • Pouring Irish cream instead of a milk product would create a vodka-free version of the mudslide.
  • To kick the drink up a notch, add a shot of tequila or vodka. Skipping the cream makes a brave bull with tequila and a black Russian with vodka.

Why Is It Called a Sombrero?

Kahlúa is a rum and coffee liqueur that was originally produced in Mexico; an origin that explains the connection to the wide-brimmed Mexican hat. First made in 1936, for much of the latter part of the 20th century, Kahlúa was the only coffee liqueur stocked in many bars, and it was poured into countless popular mixed drinks. It became so well-known that the brand name is often used generically to refer to coffee liqueurs in general (similar to Baileys and Irish cream). Today, Kahlúa is owned by the liquor industry giant, Pernod Ricard, and multiple flavors are available. Kahlúa Original comes in different strengths, depending on where it's sold; in the United States, it is 20 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 40 proof). It doesn't contain nuts but is not suitable for dairy-free, gluten-free, kosher, or vegan diets. A 1 1/2-ounce shot contains about 5 milligrams of caffeine, which is minimal compared to brewed coffee.

What Are Good Substitutes for Kahlúa?

There are a number of fantastic coffee liqueurs and many drinkers will argue that they are superior to Kahlúa.

  • Tia Maria: The second most popular coffee liqueur, Tia Maria is not as syrupy-sweet as Kahlúa. It's made with cold brew Arabica coffee, Madagascar vanilla, and Jamaican rum.
  • Firelit Coffee Liqueur: A small-batch coffee liqueur, Firelit blends cold brew coffee with brandy and is aged for one month in stainless steel tanks. It's low sugar and high caffeine.
  • Leopold Bros. French Press-Style American Coffee Liqueur: If you love French press coffee, this is the liqueur for you because it begins in a 25-liter press similar to the one in your kitchen.
  • St. George Spirits' NOLA Coffee Liqueur: Inspired by New Orleans-style coffee, this liqueur is made with Ethiopian Arabica coffee and chicory root for a unique taste.
  • New Deal Coffee Liqueur: Cold brew coffee from the beans of a local Portland, Oregon, coffee house is mixed with the distillery's small-batch spirit and sweetened with organic sugar and agave nectar.

How Strong Is the Sombrero?

No matter the brand, coffee liqueurs are generally low proof. Since that's the only alcohol in the sombrero, the mixed drink is also very light. On average, if you were to pour 3 ounces of milk, this drink weighs in at a casual 6 percent ABV (12 proof) and ranks among the best low-proof cocktails you can make.