Surviving harsh winter days is not a trivial matter. Similarly, you would find it difficult to be cozy when you hike up a tall mountain top and find that a lot of things over there are frozen already. In these cases, a drink that can warm up your body will be much appreciated. The drink can be a hot one like a warm herbal tea, or a cold one like a cocktail. White Russian Drink, one of the most popular cocktail nowadays, is an option that you may want to consider. It is quite easy to make, sweet, warming, and satisfying.
The Origin of White Russian Drink
The history of cocktails are similar to the fusion cuisines where almost everything from everywhere can be mixed together by anyone. White Russian Drink suits this ideology of fusion. Unlike other cocktails such as Martini and Margarita, the White Russian drink fuses together liquor with milk cream, making it a crossover between milky concoction (that usually identical to children) and alcoholic beverage (an undeniably adult territory).
The origin of White Russian drink is even more of a fusion. It was created by Gustave Tops, a Belgian bartender in the Hotel Metropole, Brussels, in honor of US ambassador to Luxembourg at the time. Aside of the White Russian, Tops also concocted the Black Russian which does not include any cream and is less popular than its twin sister.
The White Russian is created by a Belgian in Belgium for a US bureaucrat. So, where do the “Russian” part comes for this cocktail? Well it is just that the main ingredient is an alcoholic beverage that is heavily connotative with Russia: Vodka.
How to Make White Russian Drink
As mentioned earlier, the White Russian drink is very easy to mix. You would only need to prepare four ingredients and an old-fashioned round whiskey glass with flat bottom. Here’s the detailed three steps on how to make the White Russian drink:
- 1 part of Vodka
- 1 part of Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur such as Tia Maria or Baileys)
- 1 part heavy cream, shake to thicken it before use
- ice cubes
- Fill half of a glass with ice cubes, or add the ice as you want it.
- Add Vodka and Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur) into the glass, top it with a layer of cream.
- Serve it with a straw. Attractive appearance is always important in serving cocktails, so stir the straw a little to better draw the white cloudy part of the drink. You can also grate some unsweetened chocolate over the top to make it more flavorful.
What do you think about the recipe? So simple, right!? In order to warm up your body with White Russian drink during winter in Russia or anywhere else, you can also discard the ice and mix it in a stove, so it becomes a warm beverage instead of an ordinary refreshing cocktails. Conversely, you can exchange the heavy cream in the recipe with vanilla ice cream to make it even more frozen.
Generally, every bar may create their own proportion for the White Russian drink. They may add more Vodka, or use Tia Maria and Kahlua at the same time to make up a part of coffee liqueur, and many other alternatives. This is why there are so many White Russian recipes all over the world. On one hand, there’s the popularity of the cocktail itself. On the other hand, the casual nature of cocktails invite creativity from its mixer.
White Russian Popularity and Variations
The White Russian drink can be said as established upon the popularity of Vodka, although it is not developed in the country. For some time after its creation, the cocktail has spread its name among cocktail bars in Russia and nightclubs in western hemisphere, as well as homeowners with a bit of skill in cocktails mixing. However, it is not particularly held in high regard until a crime comedy movie titled The Big Lebowski is released in 1998.
The main character of the movie, the titular Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski who is played by Jeff Bridges, was an idiosyncratic character who drunk the White Russian in various scenes. There was also scene where the antagonist drugged The Dude’s White Russian and made him dream of starring in a film about bowling with the female lead of the story. Although the movie performed poorly in the box office during its initial release, it is increasingly regarded as a cult favorite with relatively good reviews. Consequently, the White Russian rises to international attention and becomes of a favorite accompaniment when The Dude’s fans are watching sports on TV.
This time around, the White Russian is not only recognized in its original recipes, but also comes in various cocktail mix. Most of them exchanges Heavy Cream for another kind of milk. There is a “Blind Cocktail” that exchanges the Heavy Cream with Irish Cream. A “White Canadian” cocktail that substitutes the Heavy Cream with goat’s milk. There is also the “Dirty Russian” that uses white chocolate milk.
Most notably, a cocktail called “Anna Kournikova” (yes, it is created in honor of the famous Russian tennis player and fashion model) uses unsweetened skimmed milk as healthier substitute of cream in White Russian recipe. The result contains less calories and may be more favorable for people who have to reduce sugar intakes. If you are lactose intolerant, you can also use soy milk or almond milk in place of the skimmed milk, and choose vegan Kahlua as one of the main ingredients.
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Other variations are created due to difference preferences of liqueur, but they may not use the name of “Russian” if they no longer includes Vodka. Case in point, the “White Cuban” uses rum as opposed to Vodka. The “White Belgian” takes out coffee liqueur and uses chocolate liqueur instead. Whichever way you make it, the White Russian recipe step-by-step direction is still as simple as ever.