DOTW: White Russian

Posted by Anita on 06.15.07 7:02 AM

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reservedThis month’s Mixology Monday, Creme de la Creme, features drinks made with cream-based liqueurs.

When our hostess, Anna, allowed that “lazy bums can include cream in their cocktail” in lieu of a cream liqueur, my path became clear.

“Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s The Dude, in Los Anglez. And even if he’s a lazy man — and The Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in all of Los Anglez County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide.”

A perfect inspiration for lazy, creamy-cocktail drinkers everywhere, wouldn’t you say?

For those of you not acquainted with the Coen Brothers’ 1998 noir parody, The Big Lebowski …well, there’s no way I could possibly convince you of its worth in 20 words or less. Suffice to say that its hysterical, convoluted plot finds room for Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Flea, and Tara Reid all on the same screen. It’s a rollicking two hours filled with mistaken identities, bowling tournaments, extortionate Nihilists, and many, many White Russians.

Right there in the opening scene, we find our hero Jeffrey Lebowski — known to all as The Dude, or “His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing” — strolling through his local Ralphs. He picks a carton of half-and-half out of the dairy case with a connoisseur’s care, pausing to open the container and sniff the contents.

That particular carton meets a sad fate well before finding its way into The Dude’s signature cocktail, but never fear: Many a vodka-Kahlua-cream concoction appears in The Dude’s mitts as the story unravels. One even serves as the vehicle for a nasty plot twist…

“But… aw, hell. I’ve done introduced it enough.”

Like most cocktails that have been around the block a time or two, the White Russian sports plenty of variations, and a number of competing formulas. The “official” recipe seems a bit out of synch with common usage, proposing a 5:2:3 (vodka, Kahlua, cream) ratio. Most cocktail manuals and drink sites lean more toward a 4:2:1 mix, which I prefer. More vodka seems fine, but an abundance of cream quickly overpowers the Kaluha.

Of course, you could do as many folks — including The Dude, it should be noted — do, and swap the cream for a lighter dairy product. Half-and-half makes a pleasant drink; whole milk will do in a pinch; I can’t recommend low-fat or any of that other what-have-you.

Mixology Monday 16 = Cream(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved

White Russian
2 oz vodka
1 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz cream (or half-and-half, if you’re not into that whole gluttony thing)

Combine the vodka and Kahlua in an ice-filled rocks glass. Float the cream on top.

Drink of the Week, drinks, Mixology Monday, movies & tv, recipes



Comment by gilrain

Now, “dude” — there’s a name no man would self-apply, where I come from. :)

I must thank The Big Lebowski for my first experience with alcohol, actually. Indeed, I ordered a White Russian in a small Mexican restaurant, where nobody bothered to check my ID. I wanted nothing more than to capture, for a moment, the cool casualness of The Dude. Not a bad cocktail for a beginner, looking back — sweet and smooth, with no surprising nuances or challenging flavor profiles. I don’t whip one up very often, these days, but it makes a fine dessert substitute for coffee ice cream, on occasion.

Thanks for the great write-up!

Posted on 06.15.07 at 8:45AM

Comment by cookiecrumb

“Cream-based liqueur”??
{{runs screaming}}

Me and White Russians, we go way back. Officer’s Club, Yokosuka, Japan. Barely legal.

Posted on 06.15.07 at 2:29PM

Comment by Anita

Gilrain, that’s a great story! I only wish my own first-drink episode ended as well. :D

Cookie, I have the same reaction: I have serious concerns about Baileys and its ilk — “dairy” products with a shelf life of 24 months?! — and there’s no way in hell I am mucking up a nice Crema di Limoncello by mixing it with other stuff. :)

Posted on 06.15.07 at 2:55PM

Comment by tanya

this stuff is oooh sooo yummy. Have you tried the Thai white russian? a cross between the thai ice tea and a white russian….very very good.

Posted on 06.15.07 at 3:22PM

Comment by Anna

it does look pretty damn good. i love the tendrils of cream creeping into the brew below. yum!

Posted on 06.16.07 at 6:44PM

Comment by Kathy Ramsey

The Dude abides.

Posted on 06.19.07 at 11:09AM

Comment by erik_flannestad

Another great writeup!

I do hope the Coen brothers get back to their patented obsessive weirdness in some of their upcoming movies. “The Man Who Wasn’t There” didn’t do much for me, nor did their screenplay work on “Intolerable Cruelty” or “The Ladykillers”.

Posted on 06.19.07 at 11:27AM

Comment by s'kat

The white russian was one of the first drinks I ordered when I was ‘of age’, but I’ve not had one in years.

On the other hand, I make one heck of a Caucasian Ice Cream!

Posted on 06.21.07 at 11:21AM

Comment by Lee

Careful, man, there’s a beverage here…

Posted on 07.23.07 at 2:09PM

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