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:
 
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is Getting His Own Beer

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is Getting His Own Beer

Astrophysicist, writer, and television personality Neil DeGrasse Tyson now has his very own beer, courtesy of Asheville Brewing Company....read more ›

by Drink Philly Jun 14, 2017
Drink These Warm Weather Cocktails In D.C. This Summer

Drink These Warm Weather Cocktails In D.C. This Summer

There's no better way to beat the heat than with tiki drinks, specialty cocktails, and punches made with fresh fruit - check out the seasonal specials...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jun 13, 2017
SPONSORED
Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are
Things No One Asked For: Fireball Gummy Candies

Things No One Asked For: Fireball Gummy Candies

Get ready - both Irish Confectionery Co. and VineGelee are now selling gummy bears spiked with Fireball. ...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Jun 13, 2017
D.C. Is Getting a 'Game of Thrones' Pop-Up Bar For the Summer

D.C. Is Getting a 'Game of Thrones' Pop-Up Bar For the Summer

D.C. is getting a Game of Thrones pop-up bar - three of them, in fact. Drink Company (run by Derek Brown and Angie Fetherston) is turning three of its...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 12, 2017
AB InBev Buys Minority Shares in RateBeer.com: Craft Beer Brands Ask to Be Removed From Site

AB InBev Buys Minority Shares in RateBeer.com: Craft Beer Brands Ask to Be Removed From Site

Global conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev now has a minority stake in RateBeer.com....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jun 12, 2017
Pernod Now Owns Del Maguey Mezcal

Pernod Now Owns Del Maguey Mezcal

On June 7, 2017, Ron Cooper announced that Pernod-Ricard, one of the world’s top spirits companies, would be acquiring Del Maguey....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jun 12, 2017
Negroni Week 2017 is Featuring Negroni-Inspired Food Across the Nation

Negroni Week 2017 is Featuring Negroni-Inspired Food Across the Nation

This year, for Negroni Week, bartenders and chefs are working together to create Negroni-inspired eats across ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jun 6, 2017
You Can Now Get Rose From a Drive-Thru in the Hamptons

You Can Now Get Rose From a Drive-Thru in the Hamptons

If you find yourself driving through the Hamptons one day and need an emergency bottle of rose, you're covered - a winemaker has opened a rose drive-t...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 6, 2017
Where to Drink Outside in D.C. This Summer

Where to Drink Outside in D.C. This Summer

Patio weather has arrived! Grab your friends, stake a spot at the bar and take advantage of these outdoor D.C. spots for drinking and dining. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jun 6, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close