Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Dude Turns Twenty

I would be remiss not to mention that the twentieth anniversary of one of the movies I watch whenever it's on television happened yesterday. Joel and Ethan Coen's The Big Lebowski turned twenty yesterday, and it's one of those films that you appreciate with every rewatch. One of the big things about The Dude is his love for White Russians, so I went scouring the internet for good recipes for White Russian recipes in honour of the film's anniversary. I've never actually had a White Russian adult beverage, so I cannot profess how good they are as a nightcap or anytime drink if you're The Dude, but The Dude likes them and that's his opinion, man.

Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to understand how the White Russian came about because it seems that the origin stories of some of these drinks are better than the drinks themselves. Traditionally, the drink was a Black Russian which mixes vodka and coffee liqueur over ice cubes or cracked ice in an old-fashioned glass. According to legend, the Black Russian was first served in 1949 and is credited to Belgian barman Gustave Tops who created it at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels, Belgium in honor of Perle Mesta, then United States Ambassador to Luxembourg. The name is derived from vodka, a typical Russian spirit, and the black colour of the coffee liqueur.

A Black Russian is made with five parts vodka to two parts coffee liqueur with the vodka poured over the ice in the glass followed by the coffee liqueur. There are variations of the Black Russian that see all sorts of ingredients added to slightly change the flavour and look of the Black Russian, and one of these variations is the White Russian. Other variations include the Brown Russian - a Black Russian served in a highball glass and topped up with ginger ale - and the Black Magic - a Black Russian with a shot of lemon juice and a lemon twist as garnish. Today, though, we'll focus on The Dude's favorite beverage, the White Russian.

I'm going to let Kahlua's bartender give you a little more insight on the history of and how to make the White Russian. Enjoy!
As you can see, it's a fairly simple drink to make, but The Dude often stirs his White Russian until it is fully mixed. There's nothing wrong with stirring it completely, but it removes the nuances of the layering that the bartender in the video above demonstrated so well.

For a drink that saw a surge in its popularity following the 1998 release of The Big Lebowski, there are now variations based on the White Russian that include the White Cuban - rum is used in place of vodka - and the Dirty White Russian - chocolate milk used in place of heavy cream. Enjoy it as you see fit, and tip a glass to The Dude when you sip this beverage!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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