Tia Marias: Simple, Sweet Dessert Drinks [Only 3 Ingredients]

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Tia Maria cocktails are a rich and creamy after-dinner drink that is simple to make and can be made ahead of time. This popular drinkable dessert is ideal for entertaining and the holiday season.

two wine glasses with coffee ice cream drinks, bottles of brandy and Tia Maria, on white and gold napkins, with Christmas cookies

Concerning Tia Maria Cocktails

If you've ever wondered how to make Tia Maria, you should try these recipes. Tia Maria Cocktails are fantastic after-dinner drinks and a great dessert substitute. They are essentially boozy milkshakes, or a drinkable dessert that everyone (of drinking age) enjoys.

Every year, my father makes these for dessert after our Christmas lunch, but they are delicious any time of year. Fortunately, they are so wealthy, and I am so full, that I only have room for one. Otherwise, I'd spend the rest of Christmas Day napping.

They're simple to make because the only ingredients are ice cream, coffee liqueur, and brandy, but they're also quite potent. You'll probably only need a small glass to be satisfied. There's no need to ask Tia Maria how to drink because you've already figured it out. (For more ideas, see the FAQs section below.)

It is not a frozen drink, despite the fact that it is made with ice cream. For ideas on how to make this into a frozen drink, see the variation tips below or the recipe card.

coffee ice cream, brandy, Tia Maria with text describing each on top


Tia Maria: This drink's name comes from the coffee liqueur Tia Maria (obviously haha). You could substitute another coffee liqueur if that's what you have on hand.

Any brandy will suffice. I don't think spending a lot of money on the brandy is necessary because the coffee flavors from the ice cream and Tia Maria will be the most prominent. I'm not a brandy expert, so I just buy whatever says "Brandy" on the label (the brand I use is shown in the photo). You can use whatever you have on hand or want to purchase.

A quick note about brandy: cognac is a type of brandy (much like Champagne is a type of sparkling wine), and it can be used in this cocktail.

Ice Cream: Honestly, any ice cream will do. We prefer coffee ice cream because it complements the coffee liquor, but chocolate ice cream could also be used. I don't recommend using very rich ice cream because you'll be drinking it. Otherwise, your drink may be too rich, as it is already very rich.


  • $4 for 48 ounces of coffee ice cream 99
  • Tia Maria coffee liqueur (4 ounces): $5 76
  • 6 oz. brandy: $3 36

THE TOTAL COST IS $14. 11 or $1 76 cents per serving (based on 2020 San Diego grocery store prices)

collage of ice cream and alcohol; blending the ice cream, Tia Maria, and brandy; overhead looking into the blender; two wine glasses with cocktails

Tia Maria Cocktail Recipe

Time required: 5 minutes

Making these couldn't be easier. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend. Here are the exact steps to make Tia Maria Cocktails, along with photos.

  1. In a blender, combine the ice cream, Tia Maria, and brandy.
  2. Blend
  3. If desired, add more Tia Maria or brandy.

    You can also add coffee or milk.

  4. Serve and have fun!

    two cream-colored cocktails in wine glasses on white and gold napkin next to cookies and bottles of brandy and coffee liqueur

Tia Maria Making Instructions

The recipe calls for the amount of alcohol that I prefer, but feel free to adjust as desired. If you prefer less intense drinks, half the amounts and add as much as needed. Remember that cocktails are very much a matter of personal preference, so don't be afraid to change them to suit your needs.


This is not a frozen beverage. It's more of a super creamy beverage. To make this a frozen drink (like a Bushwacker), combine 4 cups of ice with the ice cream and alcohol. This increases the volume of your drink, resulting in larger serving sizes.

Optional Ingredients

Use chocolate ice cream for a mocha Tia Maria cocktail, or vanilla for a less pronounced coffee flavor.

two glasses with ice cream drink sprinkled with cinnamon on a floral napkin with empty container of coffee ice cream, and bottles of tia maria and brandy

How to Make Your Home Allergy-Friendly

This product is already gluten-free. Check the ingredients list of your ice cream to see if it is egg-free and/or soy-free. For a dairy-free drink, use dairy-free ice cream.

Cooking and Preparation Options

If you don't have a blender, let the ice cream thaw completely in the refrigerator (this should take about 12-24 hours). Then whisk in the alcohol until thoroughly combined.

If desired, you can substitute a food processor or stand mixer for the blender.

How to Repair a Mistake

It's difficult to make a mistake with these drinks, but here are a few scenarios to consider when preparing/serving.

If it isn't strong enough, add more brandy (by the ounce) until it is. You can also add a little Tia Maria, but it will make the drinks sweeter and will not have the same strong alcohol flavor as brandy.

Too sweet: If you find these too sweet, add an extra ounce of brandy. Alternatively, you can add 12 cup increments of milk or cold, unsweetened coffee.

If the sauce is too thick or rich, thin it with milk or cold coffee in 12 cup increments. You can also serve these over ice to help thin them out.

two wine glasses with cream colored coffee drinks on white counter with white and gold napkins plus Christmas cookies with green and red sprinkles and bottles of alcohol

These can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. You can also freeze it for up to 2 weeks, but it must be thawed in the fridge overnight. In fact, my father does this every year so he doesn't have to use the blender after we finish our Christmas dinner.

Suggestions for Storage

Refrigerate or freeze these in an airtight container. They can be frozen for up to 2 weeks and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Store in an airtight container to avoid absorbing flavors from the fridge or freezer, which can alter the taste of your Tia Maria Cocktails.

Questions and Answers

What exactly is Tia Maria?

Tia Maria is a Jamaican coffee liqueur made with rum, Arabica coffee beans, and Madagascar vanilla.

Tia Maria Drinking Instructions

Tia Maria can be enjoyed in ice cream-based cocktails or White Russians. You can drink it on its own or mix it with coke, sparkling water, or tonic water. It's also great in espresso martinis or mixed into coffee.

How does Tia Maria taste?

It tastes strongly of coffee and vanilla. The alcohol flavor is barely detectable.

What is the distinction between Kahla and Tia Maria?

Kahla is a Mexican coffee liqueur made in Veracruz. Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur made in Italy from Jamaican rum coffee beans. Tia Maria is thinner and has a stronger coffee flavor, whereas Kahla is thicker and sweeter.

empty ice cream container, bottle of brandy, blender with ice cream drink, bottle of coffee liqueur on white counter

Nutritional advantages

Let's be honest. An ice cream-based cocktail doesn't have a lot of "nutrition benefits." But I don't believe we should eat solely on the basis of food nutrition facts.

Even before I drank it, this Tia Maria cocktail brought back fond memories of Christmas lunches with my family. I remember the crystal glasses in which the Tia Maria drinks were served while listening to stories from my grandmother May May, who is no longer with us.

However, for a cocktail or dessert, they are quite high in calcium (27% RDA), vitamin A (15%), and protein (8 grams).

What to serve with Tia Maria Cocktails

You'll need to eat something with these so you don't get too tipsy after drinking, so try any of the main meal recipes. Alternatively, as shown in the photo, I served these drinks with soft gingersnap cookies for an extra special dessert.

Finally, consider the following:

One of my favorite holiday traditions is drinking Tia Maria cocktails, and I think you'll enjoy them as well. These can be served as an after-dinner drink or as a dessert substitute at parties. They are delectable.

wine glasses with thick drinks, Christmas cookies, green sprinkles, bottles of brandy and tia maria


[showhide type="post" less_text="Clear Nutrition Facts" more_text="Click here for Tia Maria Cocktails Nutrition Facts"]

Nutritional Information

Cocktails with Tia Maria

Price per Serving

*Percent Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a diet of 2000 calories.



This article was first published on December 22, 2017. The text, recipe, and photographs have all been updated.

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