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How To Make A White Russian Cocktail

Full of creamy coffee flavours and a boozy thrust at the end, the White Russian cocktail is a classic from the 1940s that is not only delicious and simple to make, but is at the heart of cult cinema too.

Favourite tipple of The Dude in The Big Lebowski, the White Russian is one of the rare creamy cocktails that has withstood the test of time.

Most of the other dairy-forward drinks (even the Brandy Alexander, which always seems to be attempting a comeback) went out of fashion in the early noughts.

But as Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski would say, the White Russian abides.

Where Did The White Russian Come From?

Created by Belgian bartender Gustave Tops in a hotel bar in Brussels, the White Russian and its sans-cream sibling the Black Russian were in honour of Perle Mesta, the US Ambassador to Luxembourg, in 1949.

Ironically, Perle Mesta was a teetotaller, but she was famous for her lavish soirees all the same.

The expression ‘white Russian’ was once used to describe an amorphous ethnic group of people living between modern-day Poland and Russia, and later it was a label for Russians who’d opposed the Bolshevik Revolution in the early 20th Century.

Either way, the only link to Russia and this drink is that one third of it is vodka (which was invented in Poland by the way) so maybe not such a great name for this drink after all.

Belgium, America, Luxembourg, Poland—this drink’s not sounding very Russian at all.

Now let’s add a bit of Australia—literally—into the mix.

How To Make An Aussie White Russian

- 30ml thickened cream or milk (or even 50/50 of each)

- 30ml Aussie vodka—we’re using Mother of Pearl Vodka from Victoria

- 30ml Australian craft coffee liqueur—we love Banks and Solander Distillery’s Noir from NSW

1. Stir the vodka and coffee liqueur well in a mixing jar with lots of ice

2. Strain into an old fashioned glass with a giant ice cube

3. Carefully pour the cream over the top for a beautiful in-glass effect

You can also just stir everything in the mixing jar, strain and serve.

“Hey! Careful, man—there’s a beverage here!”

Choosing a top coffee liqueur is essential for this drink as it’s the main flavour profile you’ll notice.

We love using Noir by Banks and Solander Distillery in Botany, NSW because it’s so well made. Ed and Marty Svehla use freshly made espresso coffee using award-winning beans, and a blend of spices and botanicals to create this superb liqueur.

It’s a rich, sumptuous drink that you can enjoy on its own over ice or in cocktails like a White Russian. It brings so much more to the table than any other coffee liqueur we’ve tasted.

You should also check out Banks and Solander’s excellent gin and limoncello we’ve reviewed—you’ll find our stories on them here.

Nip of Courage has a number of other excellent coffee liqueurs to try. Here's their full list of liqueurs.


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