White Russian

Whatever days in history surrounded the creation of the White Russian of the 1960s, they are obscured by March 6, 1998, the day directors Joel and Ethan Coen unleashed a disheveled, disarranged, and ruggedly disembodied Jeff Bridges upon the world in their film The Big Lebowski. Bridges’ character, known cosmically as “The Dude,” is snapped from his daily routine of day-drinking and night-bowling when he is thrust into a plot of kidnapping and mystery as the result of mistaken identity. The road is not without its tolls, but waiting at the end is liquid sustenance of vodka, Kahlua, and cream, and so The Dude abides.–Orr Shtuhl and Elizabeth Graeber

LC The Dude Note

If you’ve yet to devote 119 minutes of your life to plopping yourself on the couch and getting stoned, er, being stunned at the brilliance of Jeff Bridges’ zenned-out character, The Dude, in The Big Lebowski, please remedy that situation. Without delay. Say what you will about a fashionably unkempt guy who runs around in boxers and a ratty sweater, but The Dude’s heart is in the right place. So is his taste in cocktails. We’re not the only folks to think that. Rumor has it Ben & Jerry’s may soon release The Dude’s Dude Food, with The Dude’s image superimposed upon a bowling alley, just above the tantalizing description, “White Russian ice cream with chocolate malt bowling balls.” It seems to be just a spoof, but it’s got us wishing…and hoping…and, in the meantime, sipping.

White Russian Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 1


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • Splash of cream


  • 1. Combine over ice and abide.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Annie Leslie

Mar 08, 2012

I think this is extremely simple, and it’s a great drink. I am not a tomato juice fan, so I like to order a White Russian at brunch. Its like an adult chocolate milk! I didn’t realize it was so simple. I can make these at home!

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Mar 08, 2012

What a nice drink. It’s creamy and cool, but warming as well. The splash of cream keeps the drink from becoming too heavy or rich. The coffee flavor has some depth but is not sticky-sweet. The vodka keeps it easy to drink. This drink would be great year-round. I would try this with vanilla vodka next time.

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Mar 08, 2012

I have always loved the flavor of a classic White Russian, and this version is no exception. I enjoyed this as an after-dinner drink last night, and it really hit the spot. I love the coffee flavor of the Kahlua, the smoothness of the vodka, and of course the creaminess of the cream. If you’re a coffee drinker looking for a cocktail to try, this is your ticket! Visually, I think this cocktail is a classic as well; when you pour the stark white cream over the dark Kahlua and vodka it slowly combines into a beautiful caramel color. The only instruction I would add to this recipe is to give the mixture a little stir before enjoying.

Testers Choice
Amy M.

Mar 08, 2012

This was delicious—but strong! You could probably add a touch more cream and make two drinks. Should be consumed while watching the Dude.

Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Mar 08, 2012

How very 70′s! White Russians were a cocktail we had back when I entertained as a new bride. I let my daughter (over 21) take the lead, as I had done them before. Everything went well, from shopping for the liquor to getting ice. When it came to the “splash” of cream, she was confused for a moment. I think that might be the only hitch for someone making this for the first time. A suggested measurement for the cream might be more helpful. I told her to add cream to her taste and they tasted like they did 30 years ago. Not totally my thing, but nice to remember back and watch Thin Man movies with. She preferred hers with a little more of the Kahlua and cream to the vodka, but vodka isn’t her thing. All in all, they made for a nice movie night.

  1. The white russian is my favorite drink and so simple too! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Always a favorite and even more so now that I’ve started making my own coffee liqueur. And I’m not even a Big Lebowski fan…go figure!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Well, there are few absolutes in life, Barbara, so not to worry about the seeming discord between loving White Russians and not loving The Big Lebowski…though have you ever tried watching the movie after sipping a few White Russians? It may change things for you…

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      Your own coffee liqueur! Sounds a little fancy for The Dude, but I, on the other hand, am very intrigued. That sounds terrific, Barbara.

  3. Allison Parker says:

    Oh, lord. It’s 12:20 here… not too early for one of these, is it? ;-)

    Seriously, this was my drink of choice all through college, and I frequently ended up drinking them with someone who, while he looked nothing at all like The Dude, sure behaved like him often enough. Heart in the right place, but wow.

    This post–the drink, the movie reference–brought me way back down memory lane. In a fun way. And I LOVE the illustrations in this whimsical book.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Allison, I think you already know what The Dude would say in response to your query if it’s too early for a White Russian. And yes, yes, yes, we, too, fancy the charming illustrations, the work of the lovely Elizabeth Graeber…

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