Photo by Andrew Hawley

Few cocktails are as strongly associated with popular culture as the White Russian. The richly smooth vodka-based drink has become synonymous with the 1998 cult comedy The Big Lebowski, in which it’s the beverage of choice for lead character The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges. It’s easy to see why, as “the Caucasian” is an inspired combination of dairy and liquor.


For the Black Russian:

2.0 oz (60 ml) vodka

1.0 oz (30 ml) coffee liqueur

For the White Russian add:

1.0 oz (30 ml) fresh cream or milk


Pour the vodka and coffee liqueur into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. For the White Russian, top up with cream or milk. Both the Black Russian and White Russian are extremely simple to make. As this series has recommended before, ditch the Smirnoff ($14.30 for 375 ml) in favour of Absolut ($14.55), Finlandia ($14.30), or Belvedere ($15.95) for a smoother taste. Kahlua ($16.45) is the standard coffee liqueur. Low fat milk can be used to make a “Slim Russian.”


Bad days call for the Black, as you can pound it back and not worry about a sugar-fueled hangover. The heavier, sweeter White should be enjoyed slowly in a laid-back setting, just as The Dude would have it.