5 Ingredients or Fewer

White Russian

November 22, 2022
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

This rather unsubtle, postwar favorite was restored to relevancy by the Coen Brothers film 'The Big Lebowski,' in which Jeff Bridge's sublimely unfazed Dude drinks them religiously. It's a good drink if you're not inclined toward a lot of thinking at the moment (which was just about any moment for the Dude). The vodka ensures it doesn't approach the flavor complexity of a Brandy Alexander. But if both vodka and cream and coffee are among your favorite things, this may be your jam. —Robert Simonson

Test Kitchen Notes

This three-ingredient cocktail—made with vodka, Kahlúa, and heavy cream—is the antidote we’ve been looking for to cure the winter blues. It’s silky, has a notable coffee flavor, and—thanks to Kahlúa’s lower-than-vodka ABV—is a little lighter on the booze than you might think. Served up, in an Old Fashioned glass,  it’s an icy beverage that nonetheless delivers cozy vibes. 

And what exactly does a White Russian cocktail look like? It can range the gamut, folks: Order  it at a bar, and it might arrive full of ice cubes in a pint glass. When we make them at home, though, we serve them very cold and neat. Milky-white with a slightly tan tint (that’s thanks to the Kahlúa) it usually comes without a garnish. If you really want to get fancy, rim the glass with vanilla sugar or drop in a few coffee beans (like an espresso martini). Nothing else needed! 

Note: The White Russian should not be confused with a traditional Russian cocktail (sometimes referred to as a “Black Russian”). A Black Russian contains equal parts of vodka and Kahlúa, but eschews the cream. It’s a darker, boozier version of its wintery relative. Like the White Russian, the darker version is served in an Old Fashioned glass, but because it’s so strong, it’s typically served on the rocks. (Occasionally, you might see it garnished with a cherry.) Try them both side-by-side to decide for yourself which you prefer.

If you’re looking for an easy cocktail to make during the holiday season for cocktail parties or nights at home, either of these could do the trick. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3/4 ounce Kahlúa
  • 3/4 ounce heavy cream
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled and well integrated, about 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled Old-Fashioned glass.

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