Easy Russian Kiss Cocktail Recipe

easy Russian kiss recipe

Picture this: the sun is dipping below the horizon, painting the sky in pinks and golds, while you’re sitting at a dimly lit bar in St. Petersburg, Russia. The kind of bar filled with mystery and secrets within its walls while you’re holding a glass that’s a dance of sweet and tart with a touch of fizz that brings it to life, with each ingredient telling its own story: The Russian Kiss Cocktail. 

Let me invite you to a delicious taste that promises to romance your taste buds with its rich flavors. Whether preparing it for your enjoyment or to impress a special someone for Valentine’s Day, this cocktail promises a kiss of unforgettable flavor at every sip for any vodka lover.  

Best part? It has super simple ingredients!

Ingredients for Russian Kiss Cocktail

While most cocktails have a long list of ingredients, this one has super simple ones you may already have at home!

  • 1.5 oz Vodka (or Cherry Vodka for added flavor)
  • A handful of Cherries (fresh or maraschino, as a garnish and for flavor)
  • 2 shots of Grenadine
  • Soda Water to top up

fresh cherries red cherry cocktail

Step-by-Step Instructions for Russian Kiss Cocktail

This is one of those easy cocktails you can make quickly if you’re in the mood! However, I included some extra optional steps to make it the perfect drink.

Step 1: Prep the Glass (Optional)

Place the cocktail glass of your choice in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before you start; alternatively, just fill the glass with ice water until you start – the goal is to have the glass nice and cold.

Step 2: Prepare the Cherries

When it comes to cherries, the instructions will vary depending on the type: 

  • Fresh cherries – remove the pits and stems
  • Maraschino cherries – drain them from their syrup

Next: Once prepared, muddle the cherries gently. 

Tip: Set aside some cherries to garnish them at the end.

Step 3: Mix the Base of the Cocktail

You’ll need a cocktail shaker for this stage, where you’ll combine: 

  • Grenadine 
  • Vodka
  • The muddled cherries
  • Handful of large ice cubes

Mixing the cherries into the shaker will help release their juice and flavor.

pouring vodka for Russian Kiss Cocktail

Step 4: Shake It Up

Now it’s time to get moving – shake it vigorously for 15-20 seconds until it’s well chilled. Shaking it thoroughly will combine the ingredients and make the mix cold, giving it that beautiful red color.

Step 5: Prep the Glass

If you’ve used ice water to chill your cocktail glass, dry it first. Next, pour the cocktail shaker mixture into the prepared glass, collecting the mixed cherries and ice so that only the liquid flows into the glass.

Step 6: Garnish, Serve, and Enjoy 

While garnishing your cocktail is optional, you should do it to give it an extra kick. Fill the glass slowly with soda water, but be careful because the soda will fizz when it touches the grenadine.  

Lastly, drop a cherry into your glass – voilá! Now, enjoy that sweet Russian Kiss.

Tips for the Perfect Russian Kiss Cocktail

For my fellow vodka lovers, there are variations to make this the perfect drink: 

  • Make it sweeter – Use cherry vodka instead of regular vodka to enhance the cherry flavor and add sweetness. Alternatively, you can also just add more grenadine.
  • Add a festive twist to balance the sweetness – if it’s too sweet or you want a twist, use a splash of orange juice or lime for a more citrusy note 
  • For a smoother taste – use a higher-quality vodka for a more refined taste, such as Russian Standard Vodka

Homemade grenadine pomegranate juice

How to Make Homemade Grenadine

Here’s a simple recipe to make your own grenadine: 


  • 2 cups of 100% Pomegranate Juice (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup of Granulated Sugar
  • 1-2 tsp of Lemon Juice (optional, but it helps preserve the grenadine and adds a touch of brightness)
  • 1/2 tsp of Orange Flower Water (optional for added floral aroma)

Step-by-step instructions to make grenadine: 

  • Combine the pomegranate juice and granulated sugar in a COLD medium saucepan. 
  • Turn the heat to medium and gently mix it until the sugar dissolves, but just for a few minutes; don’t let it boil because you’re not creating syrup. 
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon juice (optional) to help preserve the grenadine, add tartness, and balance the sweetness.
  • Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes more, aiming for a rich, deep taste rather than a thick syrup. 
  • Allow it to cool to room temperature before adding the orange blossom water (optional).
  • Fill an airtight bottle or jar with it, seal it tightly, and place it in the refrigerator.

Making your own grenadine is relatively fast and easy – plus you get the added benefit of using ingredients that you know of.

Variations of the Russian Kiss Cocktail

If you want to add a little more fun or a twist to this refreshing cocktail with minimal effort, try these variations:

  • Russian Kiss Royale – Instead of club soda water, use 1.5 oz champagne or sparkling white wine to get a more luxurious version for special occasions. 
  • Berry Russian Kiss – Use other fresh berries like raspberries or blackberries along with the cherries for a deeper fruit flavor (if you’re looking for something sweeter, consider caramel syrup!)
  • Spicy Russian Kiss – Add a small slice of jalapeno or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the shaker to contrast the sweetness.
  • Herbal Russian Kiss – Muddle in some fresh basil or mint leaves along with the cherries to add freshness and herbal complexity. 
  • Smoky Russian Kiss – Use a smoky vodka (i.e., bacon-infused vodka) or add a drop of liquid smoke to the shaker to add a deep, smoky character – super bold twist!

Alternatively, you can also check out the white Russian cocktails, a blend of vodka with coffee liqueur and heavy cream. 

blue Russian kiss curacao

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have questions about this dessert cocktail recipe? Well, we’ve got the answers!

Can I make the Russian Kiss Cocktail alcohol-free?

Yes! You can make a mocktail version out of it by leaving out the vodka and using cherry juice in place of it. Just top it off with soda water or ginger ale for a refreshing mocktail – enjoy!

What can I substitute for Grenadine?

Glad you asked! Just use a simple syrup infused with pomegranate or cranberry juice (raspberry or strawberry syrup will also work!).

Can I prepare this cocktail in advance of a party?

You sure can! Just pre-mix the vodka, cherries, and grenadine into a pitcher or bottle. When you’re ready to serve it, pour it into the glass and add the soda water for freshness and fizz. 

Can I use a different type of soda?

Absolutely! If you don’t like soda water, you can also use tonic water, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda, for instance. 

How do I make a blue Russian Kiss recipe?

This version is one of my favorites due to the vibrant blue color due to the blue curacao (1 shot).

Russian Kiss Cocktail Recipe Card


  • 1.5 oz Vodka or Cherry Vodka for added flavor
  • A handful of Cherries fresh or maraschino, as a garnish and for flavor
  • 2 shots of Grenadine
  • Soda Water to top up


Prep the glass (optional): consider cooling it either in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or filling it with ice water until ready for a better experience.

    Prepare the cherries:

    • Fresh cherries – remove the pits and stems
    • Maraschino cherries – drain them from their syrup
    • Once prepped, muddle them gently – put aside some whole ones for garnish (optional)

    Prepare the cocktail mix: Use a shaker to combine the following:

    • Grenadine
    • Vodka
    • The muddled cherries
    • A handful of large ice cubes

    Shake the mix vigorously for 15-20 seconds until it’s well mixed and chilled

      Prepare the (chilled) glass and pour the mix into it, but make sure you collect the berries and ice so only the liquid flows into the glass

        Garnish, serve, and enjoy: top off the cocktail with some club soda, but be careful as it will fix as soon as it touches the grenadine – add a cherry on top, and voilá! Enjoy!

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