Learn How to Bartend in TWO weeks! Limited Spaces Available!

432 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1T5

White Russian and Variations

By FineArtBartender

white russian vodka kahlua creamThe White Russian was one of the first popular Vodka drinks concocted in the 1930s, when vodka was just beginning its invasion of the West. The name of the drink dates it near the end of World War I, when the “White Russians”, an anti-Bolshevik group, was still in existence. The drink itself isn’t Russian, but the combination of vodka as its main ingredient and the white colour of the cream, give the cocktail its name.

Its progenitor was a drink called a Russian, made with Vodka, gin, and crème de cacao. Cream added to the mix made it a Barbara, a name later toughed up to Russian Bear. When the “Bear” was dropped, we were left with two types of “Russians.” So one was named a Black Russian, made without the cream. The other, of course, is the White Russian.

Why The White Russian Cocktail Is So Popular

The reason the White Russian is such a great little number is because it’s a great drink for people who don’t drink a lot and a great drink for people who drink too much. Despite its taste and appearance, the White Russian packs a wallop. There’s a lot of alcohol in there, but no bad taste whatsoever. So if you don’t drink regularly, you can still get loaded without all the hassle and facial contortions you’d get from, say, a Manhattan. If you drink too much, a White Russian is a fine tasting change of pace, full of that precious alcohol you’re so dependent on, but with a rich creamy taste.

The White Russian

The White Russian a tasty cocktail recently revived by being featured as the Dude’s favourite cocktail in the Big Lebowski.


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 2 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Cream

Pour vodka and Kahlua over ice in a highball glass. Add the cream on top. Serve. Half and Half, milk, and Irish creme are often substituted for the cream.

  1. Fill glass with ice.
  2. Pour in vodka, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
  3. Fill the rest of the way with 2% milk.
  4. Stir and serve

Black Russian

black russian vodka kahluaCalled a Black Russian due to the absence of the cream, this cocktail officially originated in 1949 in Brussels. The story says that a Belgium barmaid at the Hotel Metropole created the drink as a tribute to the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, Perle Mesta.


  • 3 oz Vodka
  • 2 oz Kahlua

In a cocktail glass, add the Vodka and Kahlua over ice. Serve

Interesting Variations of the Black and White Russian

Colorado Bulldog

By adding a little cola taste, the Colorado Bulldog, or .357, gives something special to the original drink.


  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz Half-and-half
  • 1/2 oz of Cola

Add Vodka and Kahlua to a rocks glass over ice. Add cream or half-and-half. Top with Cola. Stir Slightly and serve.

The Anna Kournikova

According to the Tavern Wench, this is a less fattening version of the White Russian, named after the tennis world’s favourite blonde tennis champion.


  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • Skim Milk

Add Vodka and Kahlua to a rocks glass over ice. Add the skim milk to just below the rim of the glass and stir slightly. Serv

Black Magic

To make the Black Russian a little sour, add some lemon.


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 dash fresh lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

A couple of other closely related cocktails you might also be interested in are the Smith and Kearns.

Register Today for only $599