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

Cream being poured from a pitcher into a highball glass for a white Russian cocktail.

White Russian

5 / 4 votes
This white Russian cocktail, popularized by the is a tantalizing blend of vodka, Kahlua, and a splash of cream. Cheers!
David Leite
Servings1 servings
Calories228 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes


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


An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails

Adapted From

An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails

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Serving: 1 cocktailCalories: 228 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 3 mgSugar: 13 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Orr Shtuhl | Elizabeth Graeber. Photo © 2020 Brent Hofackereber. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    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.

    1. 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…

  2. 5 stars
    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!

    1. 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…

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