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:
 
Try These Summer Cocktails This Season in D.C.

Try These Summer Cocktails This Season in D.C.

It's officially summertime in the city, and we can't think of a better way to cool off from DC's heat and humidity than with a cold, boozy cocktail in...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Jul 31, 2019
Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Scientists may have discovered a more environmentally friendly way to make one of the world's most popular spi...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 23, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
D.C.'s Best Wine Bars

D.C.'s Best Wine Bars

Whether you're a wino or a wine novice, DC is home to a number of wine bars perfect for casual sipping or for expanding your palate. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen May 29, 2019
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Where to Drink Outside in D.C. During Summer 2019

Where to Drink Outside in D.C. During Summer 2019

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

by Lanna Nguyen May 14, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Adams Morgan

Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Adams Morgan

Here are some of our top picks featuring awesome beverage choices in addition to serving up delicious eats - burgers, Korean, Japanese and more - all ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Apr 17, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

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

Close