White Russian (cocktail)

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White Russian
A mixed White Russian
Primary alcohol by volume
ServedOn the rocks; poured over ice
Standard drinkware
Old Fashioned Glass.svg
Old fashioned glass
Commonly used ingredients
PreparationPour coffee liqueur and vodka into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Float fresh cream on top and stir slowly.

A White Russian (Russian: Белый Русский, romanizedBelyy Russkiy) is a cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa or Tia Maria) and cream served with ice in an old fashioned glass. Often milk, half and half, or cream liqueur will be used as an alternative to cream.[citation needed]


The traditional cocktail known as a Black Russian, which first appeared in 1949, becomes a White Russian with the addition of cream. Neither drink has any known Russian origin, but both are so-named due to vodka being the primary ingredient. It is unclear which drink preceded the other.[1][2]

The Oxford English Dictionary[3] refers to the first mention of the word "White Russian" in the sense of a cocktail as appearing in California's Oakland Tribune on November 21, 1965.[4] It was placed in the newspaper as an insert: "White Russian. 1 oz. each Southern, vodka, cream",[5] with "Southern" referring to Coffee Southern, a short-lived brand of coffee liqueur by Southern Comfort.[6]

The White Russian saw a surge in popularity after the 1998 release of the film The Big Lebowski. Throughout the movie, it appears as the beverage of choice for the protagonist, Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski. On a number of occasions he refers to the drink as a "Caucasian".[7]


An unmixed White Russian.

As with all cocktails, various modes of preparation exist, varying according to the recipes and styles of particular bars or mixologists. Most common varieties have adjusted amounts of vodka or coffee liqueur, or mixed brands of coffee liqueur. Shaking the cream in order to thicken it prior to pouring it over the drink is also common. Sometimes the drink is prepared on the stove with hot coffee for a warm treat on cold days. Conversely, vanilla ice cream has been known to be used, rather than cream, to make it frozen.[8][9]


Many variants of the cocktail exist, both localized and widely known, such as a Blind Russian (also known as a Muddy Water) which substitutes cream with Irish cream, a Mudslide (a Blind Russian with both), White Canadian (made with goat's milk), an Anna Kournikova (named after the tennis player), made with skimmed milk (i.e. a "skinny" white Russian), a Russian Cherry Orchard made with the addition of Grand Marnier (named for the play by Anton Chekhov), a White Cuban (made with rum instead of vodka), or a Dirty Russian (made with chocolate milk instead of cream).[10][11]

A Colorado Bulldog is very similar to the White Russian, using all traditional ingredients, but adding a splash of cola.[12]

Cultural references[edit]

The White Russian was the favorite drink of the protagonist in the cult classic film The Big Lebowski (1998).[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sicard, Cheri (August 6, 2007). "Featured Cocktails – Black Russian and White Russian". FabulousFoods.com. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
  2. ^ "10 Famous Cocktails and Where They Were Born". bootsnall.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  3. ^ "June 2007 Update : Oxford English Dictionary". oed.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  4. ^ "The History of the White Russian". nicoledigiose.com. August 10, 2012. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  5. ^ "White Russian, n. and a.". Oxford English Dictionary. June 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  6. ^ "An Enthusiast's Guide to Cocktails: the White Russian". The Alcohol Enthusiast. May 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  7. ^ Kurutz, Steven (2 December 2008). "White Russians Arise, This Time at a Bowling Alley". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  8. ^ "Nostalgic Frozen Kahlúa White Russian Cocktail & Holiday Entertaining Tips". Cooking in Stilettos. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  9. ^ "Frozen White Russians!". Anne Taintor. 2015-07-10. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  10. ^ "The Snows of Revolution". The Boise Weekly. 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  11. ^ "White Russian". Conan's Pub. 2006. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  12. ^ https://www.kahlua.com/us/drinks/classic/colorado-bulldog/
  13. ^ Boardman, Madeline (2013-03-06). "Jeff Dowd, Real 'Big Lebowski' Dude, Talks White Russians, Jeff Bridges And Bowling". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2020-12-25. Retrieved 2015-04-24.


External links[edit]