Sneaky Pete Cocktail Recipe

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Sneaky Pete Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Sneaky Pete cocktail is believed to have originated in the 1930s during the Prohibition era in the United States. It was a popular choice among those who wanted a strong, yet easy-to-drink cocktail. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a mix of sweet and strong flavors.

  • The name 'Sneaky Pete' is said to come from the fact that it was often served in a coffee cup to avoid suspicion during Prohibition.
  • It is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed by many today.

How Sneaky Pete Tastes?

The Sneaky Pete cocktail has a bold, rich taste with a hint of sweetness. It is a strong and warming drink, with a smooth and velvety texture.

Interesting facts about Sneaky Pete

  • The Sneaky Pete is sometimes referred to as a 'cousin' of the White Russian, due to their similar ingredients and taste profiles.
  • It is a versatile cocktail that can be served either on the rocks or straight up.
  • The Sneaky Pete is often garnished with a cherry or a lemon twist, adding a touch of color and a hint of tartness to the drink.


Rye Whiskey

Rye whiskey, with its notable spice and fruit notes, is the robust backbone of the Sneaky Pete. At 2 oz, it's just enough to establish that warm familiar hug of whiskey without overwhelming the other ingredients. Opt for less, and the drink may lean too creamy; more, and you'll mask the intricate dance between coffee and cream.

Emma Rose

Coffee Liqueur

At 1 oz, the coffee liqueur whispers sweet nothings of rich coffee flavor into the mix. It's a balance of sweet and bitter that plays off the whiskey's heat. Skipping it would lose the signature coffee vibrancy. A substitute might be a cold brew concentrate for a less sweet, more coffee-forward version.

Alex Green

Heavy Cream

1 oz of heavy cream gives Sneaky Pete its silky mouthfeel. Less would make the cocktail feel incomplete, and more might turn it into an adult milkshake. If ditched entirely, you'd miss out on the cocktail's signature lushness. Alternatively, half-and-half could be used for a lighter touch.

Mary Mitkina


Ice ensures everything is sufficiently chilled, integrating flavors and muting any harshness. No ice equals a lukewarm mishap; too much ice risks a watered-down tragedy. Substitutions? Well, frozen coffee cubes, if you're feeling adventurous, for an extra kick!

Emma Rose

Cherry or Lemon Twist

A cherry or lemon twist is a final flourish, like a wink from across the room. It's garnish with purpose - aroma and a hint of citrus or a sweet endnote. Without it, the drink would lose a layer of complexity. An orange twist or a few coffee beans could serve as fun alternatives, though changing the cocktail's finishing touch.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Sneaky Pete Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add the rye whiskey, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream.
  3. Stir the ingredients until well combined and chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice or a chilled cocktail glass for a straight-up version.
  5. Garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients. The taste of your Sneaky Pete will largely depend on the quality of the rye whiskey, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream you use.
  • Chill your glass. This will help keep your cocktail cold for longer.
  • Stir, don't shake. This will prevent the cocktail from becoming too diluted.

Perfect Pairings

Sweets & Desserts

  • Chocolate treats: The richness of the heavy cream and the deep coffee notes from the liqueur make Sneaky Pete a delightful companion to chocolate desserts.
  • Cheesecakes: Its creamy texture and hint of acidity from the lemon twist cut through the density of cheesecakes.
  • Nutty pastries: The whiskey's warmth complements pastries with almond or hazelnut flavors.

Savory Snacks

  • Smoked almonds: The smokey flavor pairs well with the rye's spicy kick.
  • Aged cheeses: Bold cheeses can stand up to the intense flavors of the cocktail.
  • Charcuterie: The savory and sometimes fatty profiles of cured meats contrast nicely with the sweetness of the drink.

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What you could change in Sneaky Pete

  • Rye Whiskey: Can be replaced with Bourbon for a sweeter taste.
  • Coffee Liqueur: Can be substituted with a chocolate liqueur for a different flavor profile.
  • Heavy Cream: Can be replaced with half-and-half or whole milk for a lighter version.

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And of course - twists🍹

Irish Pete

Swap the rye whiskey for Irish whiskey, and add a dash of chocolate bitters. This brings a smoother, more mellow whiskey character with a touch of chocolate, adding a layer to the coffee's complexity.

Vanilla Sneaky Pete

Stir in a 1/2 oz of vanilla syrup with the original ingredients. It's a sweet twist that enhances the creaminess and complements both the coffee and whiskey, creating a flavor reminiscent of a boozy vanilla latte.

Chilled Pete

Serve the Sneaky Pete in a frozen glass with no ice, giving it a velvet texture. It intensifies the creaminess and the flavors meld together in a different, more concentrated way. For garnish, grate a little nutmeg on top for a spicy kick.

In case you forgot basics how to make Sneaky Pete

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Sneaky Pete

What type of rye whiskey should I use for Sneaky Pete cocktail?

You can use any type of rye whiskey that you enjoy. However, a higher-quality rye whiskey can significantly enhance the flavor of the cocktail.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of Sneaky Pete cocktail?

Yes, you can substitute the rye whiskey and coffee liqueur with non-alcoholic versions to make a non-alcoholic Sneaky Pete.

How can I make my Sneaky Pete Cocktail vegan?

To make a vegan Sneaky Pete, you can replace the heavy cream with a vegan alternative such as almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew cream.

Can I use a different type of liqueur for Sneaky Pete cocktail?

Yes, while coffee liqueur is traditional, you can experiment with other types of dark liqueurs according to your taste preference.

What are the recommended snacking pairings with this drink?

Due to its strong and sweet flavor profile, Sneaky Pete cocktail pairs well with salty snacks like nuts or pretzels, or even with dark chocolate.

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