Most well informed people usually end dinner in good company with a cup of coffee. Epic meals tend to slow things down and coffee is a great way to speed them back up. If you need a hit of caffeine but you prefer a more “R-rated” option… the White Russian is the gold standard.
It is a particularly evil cocktail because of its trifecta of vices… alcohol, sugar and caffeine all combined into one rocks glass (the only legal vice missing is nicotine so smoke a cigarette while you are drinking one if you really want to go all out).
Before we go any further let’s get something out of the way… The White Russian was not invented in Russia. It is a cocktail so named because of its alcoholic component… Vodka. Vodka isn’t necessarily always Russian either (Grey Goose is French) but its iconic status and history there has solidified the association.
The caffeine is subtlety delivered in the form of a coffee liqueur. All the character of your White Russian will come from your choice of liqueur. Depending on which you use ,the taste will vary from a boozed up ice coffee to a drunken glass of chocolate milk. Regardless, it is a rich and gratifying combination.
The “white” in White Russian comes from the inclusion of cream. If you take your coffee with cream then the White Russian is for you… if you are the type of person who takes your coffee “black” then perhaps a Black Russian is more your speed. The Black Russian omits the cream (like black coffee) but still delivers the same character. Either one is perfect for an after-dinner cocktail with a solid punch of caffeine.
Besides being a perfectly evil after-dinner cocktail for any occasion, The White Russian is also permanently linked to “the Dude” (or His Dudeness… Duder… or El Duderino). Who is the Dude you ask? He is unforgettable main character of the Coen brother’s cult classic “The Big Lebowski” (1998). Jeffrey “the Dude” Lebowski is an unemployed, bathrobe wearing, bowling fanatic who drinks nothing but White Russians. The movie actually starts with the Dude shopping for half-and-half so he can go home and make his signature drink (he pays for the half-and-half with a check for $0.69).
No matter where the plot takes him (and it takes him many places) the Dude is never far from his next White Russian. That’s what makes the Dude so interesting… he likes what he likes and he just so happens to like White Russians (which he occasionally refers to as “Caucasians”).
In honor of the Dude and his “take it easy” nature, there is one day in particular that demands you pour a White Russian for yourself and just go with the flow. March 6th is the holy day of Dudeism… The Day of the Dude. Sit back a little further than you usually would the next time March 6th rolls around and honor the Dude by sipping on a White Russian. But, whatever you do on that day do not listen to the Eagles… the Dude hates the Eagles with a passion.
5 parts Vodka
2 parts Coffee liquer
3 parts fresh cream
On the rocks, poured over ice
Serve in an Old Fashioned glass
For a Black Russian omit the cream
For a White Cuban use Rum instead of Vodka