- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Kahlúa
- Heavy cream
- In a rocks or highball glass, add ice, vodka, and Kahlúa.
- Top off with heavy cream and stir.
White Russian Variations and Substitutions
The white Russian can easily be molded to suit different flavor profiles and sweetness without losing its original roots.
- Consider using a flavored vodka such as caramel or vanilla.
- Add a splash of rum or a flavored liqueur such as almond, hazelnut, chocolate, or cinnamon.
- Use a splash of chilled coffee or espresso for a stronger coffee flavor.
- Enjoy in a chilled martini glass, skipping the ice.
- Use milk in place of heavy cream for a lighter cocktail.
- Add a few drops of aromatic, chocolate, or other flavored bitters.
- Try a cola variation of the white Russian called the Colorado bulldog cocktail.
A garnish isn't typically included with a white Russian, but there are a few possibilities for dressing up this cocktail.
- Garnish with three whole coffee beans.
- Sprinkle with ground cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg.
- Add an orange peel.
- Top with whipped cream.
- Use a whole star anise or two.
About the White Russian
Despite the name, the classic white Russian has no known Russian roots, but many believe it's so named because of the vodka spirit. When vodka was first introduced in the US, Americans associated it with Russia.
No one quite knows whether the white Russian preceded the black Russian, which uses just vodka and Kahlúa, but rather they more or less appeared simultaneously. From the classic white Russian's first written appearance in the 1960s, it has remained a constant and unchanged recipe throughout the decades but slowly waned in popularity as each year passed.
The cocktail saw a resurgence in the late 1990s thanks to the iconic character, The Dude (The Big Lebowski). Since then, it continues to go in and out of fashion with different areas and crowds, but with so many flavors of spirits and coffee available now, there's an endless number of combinations to consider.
The Dude Would
If you're put off by the idea of a cocktail with heavy cream, rest assured this libation is spirit-forward with just an afterthought of dairy. If you're hesitant, start with a drop and work your way up. Either way, the White Russian with Kahlúa is a rich cocktail worthy of your attention.