White Russian Riffs

In the culture of cocktails, the White Russian has been kept aloft on a raft of irony. The drink is classic mainly in the sense that it’s been around for several decades, and its simple build of vodka, coffee liqueur and cream worked well enough as a basic dessert drink but never quite had the cachet to pull it from the back pages. Then along came The Dude—Jeff Bridges’ iconic character from the 1998 Coen brothers’ movie The Big Lebowski—whose signature drink was a White Russian. The Dude may have been indiscriminate about his own White Russians—even mixing one with nondairy powdered creamer—but many of today’s bartenders have taken the opportunity to get creative with the drink’s signature flavors.

Classic White Russian
The Dude’s favorite drink in The Big Lebowski.

Lite Treason
Coffee liqueur get a boost from amaro and mezcal-infused whipped cream.

The Aviary’s White Russian (pictured)
This riff takes a but more work than the classic, but the results are well worth the effort.

The Rug
An easy-drinking blend of bourbon, coconut and coffee liqueur.

Truss & Twine’s White Russian
Coffee-infused gin replaces vodka in this toasty take on the original.


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