Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

Drinks Decoded: White Russian

by Lanna Nguyen on Feb 14, 2017 in Culture

In this series, we take a closer look at well-known cocktails. Get to know the history behind these classic drinks as well as where you can find them in the DMV area. This week’s Drinks Decoded takes on White Russian, in honor of National Kahlua Day on February 27.

The Basics
The White Russian is a cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur (typically Kahlua), and cream or milk. It is served on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass by pouring the vodka and coffee liqueur into the glass filled with ice and then adding the cream or milk on top of the alcohol while slowly stirring all of the ingredients together. Variations of the drink include a White Canadian (goat’s milk is used instead of cream), White Mexican (horchata is substituted for cream), and the White Cuban (rum is used instead of vodka), to name a few.

The Backstory
Contrary to popular belief, the drink’s name does not have anything to do with the country Russia, other than having vodka as the main alcoholic base. The drink was originally named a Black Russian when it was created in 1949 by Belgian bartender Gustave Tops. Story has it that Tops made the drink for Perle Meste, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. The first version of the drink only contained vodka and coffee liqueur, hence its name. The introduction of cream to the Black Russian - thereby turning it into a White Russian - did not occur until the 1960’s. The cocktail was enjoyed throughout the decades, but did not receive much notoriety until it was featured in the cult classic The Big Lebowski as The Dude’s drink of choice. The drink has a reputation as being on the sweeter side and cocktail selection for those sensitive to the strong taste of liquor.
 
The Bars
Burger Tap and Shake
The February cocktail of the month, Pandamonium, is made with Smirnoff Whipped vodka, Creme de Cacao, and a splash of milk and mint - modeled after the White Belgian (substituting chocolate liqueur for coffee liqueur). (2200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW; 202-587-6258)
 
Co Co Sala
The chocolate-inspired restaurant bar’s take on the White Russian includes Svedka Vanilla, Patron Cafe XO and Baileys and milk foam. (929 F St, NW; 202-347-4265)
 
Ted’s Bulletin
The classic American diner serves up an adult milkshake version of the White Russian - made with vodka and Kahlua, get a taste of nostalgia for $10.99. (multiple locations)

Photo via Flickr user stevendepolo

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Deck Your Halls With These Whiskey-Filled Ornaments

Deck Your Halls With These Whiskey-Filled Ornaments

Forget the tinsel and string lights - the UK's Lakes Distillery has released a line of booze-filled ornaments just in time to make your holiday season...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Nov 14, 2017
Napa Valley is Running a Christmas-Themed Wine Train to the 'North Pole' For the Holidays

Napa Valley is Running a Christmas-Themed Wine Train to the 'North Pole' For the Holidays

If you've ever wanted to travel to the North Pole for the holidays, you can - but you have to get to the Napa ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Nov 6, 2017
D.C. Fall Cocktail Week is Back for its Fifth Year, November 13-19

D.C. Fall Cocktail Week is Back for its Fifth Year, November 13-19

There's no better time to explore new bars and re-discover old favorites while taking in the best of DC's mixo...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Nov 6, 2017
SPONSORED
Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are
Brace Yourself: A Wine Shortage is Imminent

Brace Yourself: A Wine Shortage is Imminent

Europe is bracing for the lowest wine yield in decades, dropping 14% from 2016....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Nov 6, 2017
Delta is Now Serving Complimentary Prosecco on Select Flights

Delta is Now Serving Complimentary Prosecco on Select Flights

Delta Airlines is now serving complimentary prosecco on all of its international flights, including to coach customers....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Nov 6, 2017
A Rare Sam Adams Beer, Utopia, Is Being Released

A Rare Sam Adams Beer, Utopia, Is Being Released

Sam Adams has released their biennial Utopias beer, a barrel aged ale that is illegal in 12 states due to its high alcohol content....read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Oct 31, 2017
Where to Celebrate World Gin Day in D.C.

Where to Celebrate World Gin Day in D.C.

On November 7, celebrate National Gin Day with a cocktail (or two) from some of our favorite bars. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Oct 31, 2017
A Canadian Man is Suing an Airline for a Ridiculous Champagne-Related Reason

A Canadian Man is Suing an Airline for a Ridiculous Champagne-Related Reason

This Canadian man has sued an airline for a champagne-related reason you won't believe....read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Oct 31, 2017
Chocolate Red Wine is Here, Just in Time for Winter

Chocolate Red Wine is Here, Just in Time for Winter

Winter is officially coming, and one U.K. winery has created a chocolate red wine to keep you warm and cozy all season long....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Oct 31, 2017
This Chicago Bar is Dressing Up as Moe's Tavern for Halloween

This Chicago Bar is Dressing Up as Moe's Tavern for Halloween

Bar and arcade Replay, in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, is getting into the Halloween spirit by dressing up as Moe's Tavern, the iconic dive bar f...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Oct 24, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close