- 2 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Kahlúa
- 2 oz light cream
- Add the vodka and Kahlua to an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice
- Top with heavy cream (or half-half)
- Garnish with a single maraschino cherry
To tell the story of the the White Russian we need to look back a few years to the origin of vodka cocktails in general. The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) is considered one of the first U.S. publications to include recipes using vodka. At that time, vodka was primarily a Russian export (and the country is widely believed to have been responsible for its origin). It should come as no surprise then, that one of these early vodka cocktails in the Savoy book was known simply as the “Russian” (vodka, gin and crème de cacao). The similarities to it’s progeny should be apparent.
The White Russian as we enjoy it today was first documented in the Oakland Tribune in November 1965. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (among other sources) this is widely believed to be the first published instance of the cocktail. However, a cocktail called the “White Russian” actually appeared in a Southern Comfort ad in the Boston Globe that predates the Oakland mention, as one of the cocktails to make using the (now long forgotten) Coffee Southern liqueur. So either the good folks at the Southern Comfort marketing department came up with the drink or people had been adding cream to their Black Russians for a while before that Tribune article.
From there the White Russian saw a brief flurry of popularity during the disco era of the ’70s before falling by the wayside for two decades. Then—you guessed it—one movie singlehandedly vaulted the drink into the realm of legends. And that movie was The Big Lebowski.
Alcohol (strong): 5/10