White Russian Recipe

The White Russian cocktail, go-to drink of Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, is a must-try classic cocktail. Learn how to make the White Russian Recipe with our award winning bartenders.
White Russian Recipe

Method

Build

Glass

Rocks

Category

Vodka

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TELL US ABOUT THE WHITE RUSSIAN RECIPE

If you were hoping the origins of the White Russian cocktail recipe would be steeped in Russian culture, you’d be disappointed.

In fact, the drink actually has nothing to do with Russia, bar the use of Vodka, which as any drinks enthusiast will know is often associated with the country.

Created in 1949, the White Russian recipe was concocted by a Belgian bartender called Gustave Tops.

Whilst working at the swanky Hotel Metropole, Tops often served visiting celebrities and dignitaries.

The White Russian recipe was created in honour of a very special guest.

“A visiting Russian official or celebrity?” we hear you ask.

Sorry to disappoint, but no.

It was in fact an American ambassador, Perle Mesta, who the drink was created for.

Mesta was a socialite and fixture on the European political scene, serving as United States ambassador to Luxembourg  between 1949–1953.

Being invited to a Mesta party meant you’d made it in those days.

So it’s perhaps no surprise that a famous cocktail was made in her honour, perhaps in an attempt to win her favour.

So, why is it called a White Russian?

Vodka originated in Russia and Eastern Europe many thousands of years back. Even today, the spirit is often associated with Russia.

This relationship, and the addition of white milk and cream led to the name of the famous cocktail we know and love today.

Did You Know?

Film buffs will of course know that the White Russian recipe is the cocktail of choice for Jeff Bridge’s iconic character The Dude in the 1998 film The Big Lebowski.

WHITE RUSSIAN RECIPE INGREDIENTS

25ml Vodka
25ml Coffee Liqueur
75ml Half/Half Mix (Milk/Cream)

HOW TO MAKE THE WHITE RUSSIAN COCKTAIL RECIPE

To make the White Russian recipe, take a rocks glass and fill with cubed ice.

Add in the vodka and coffee liqueur.

Stir gently for 30 seconds to allow the mix to combine.

Top with the half and half mix.

Expert Tip

The White Russian is traditionally served without a garnish.

Don’t let that stop you getting creative, though.

Try sprinkling a tiny amount of chocolate powder on top of the finished drink. Don’t overdo it!

WHAT TO DRINK NEXT

If you’ve tried the White Russian cocktail recipe then you simply have to try a Black Russian cocktail to see the difference and similarities between the two drinks.

Some legends attribute the Black Russian as being the cocktail created to mark the visit of Perle Mesta.

What is clear is that both were created by Tops at around the same time, and both are delicious.

There are countless variations on the White Russian, including an Autumnal Pumpkin Spiced White Russian, and a festive Cinnamon and Nutmeg White Russian.

Other variations include the Blind Russian (which adds Irish cream liqueur) and the Russian Cherry Orchard. This reference to Chekhov’s famous Russian play includes delicious Grand Marnier cherry liqueur.

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