Boozy, caffeinated, and luxuriously creamy, the White Russian is an unequivocal cocktail classic. Made from a simple recipe of vodka, cream, and coffee liqueur, this drink is thankfully as easy to prepare as it is delicious.
The White Russian first appeared in the 1960s as a twist on its cream-free predecessor, the Black Russian. Contrary to what their names would suggest, the Black Russian was invented in Belgium and the White Russian in America. These cocktails earned their monikers purely due to their core ingredient being Russia’s most celebrated export: vodka.
After several decades of relative obscurity, the White Russian took its rightful place as a cocktail icon thanks to its starring role in the 1998 cult classic, The Big Lebowski. Appearing as Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski’s drink of choice, the White Russian soared in popularity and is now a staple in bars worldwide.
How to make a White Russian
Kahlua Liqueur is the definitive choice when it comes to adding a coffee kick as it’s made with roasted arabica beans and sugar cane for pure, authentic flavour. If you fancy a lighter serve, swap out the heavy cream for milk or a vegan alternative.
- 60ml Vodka
- 30ml Kahlua Liqueur
- 30ml Heavy Cream
- Add several ice cubes to a tumbler and pour in the vodka and Kahlua
- Slowly top up the glass with cream and give it a gentle stir
Variations on a White Russian
Feel like mixing things up? The simplicity of the White Russian has inspired countless cocktail variations over the years, with some easy ingredient swaps making for a whole new series of taste sensations:
Black Russian – The original Russian cocktail, this recipe calls for just equal parts vodka and Kahlua, making a pared back, darkly intriguing mix.
White Cuban – For a blend that’s sweeter and richer, use a double shot of Spiced Rum instead of vodka.
Dirty Russian – Here’s one for the chocolate lovers! A Dirty Russian follows the classic White recipe but swaps out the heavy cream for chocolate flavoured milk.
Mudslide – Ultra-decadent and delightfully warming, top off your White Russian with a double shot of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur to create a Mudslide cocktail.