The White Russian is one of the greatest cocktails of all time. It may not be flashy or trendy (at least, not since The Big Lebowski became a cult classic), but the mid-century recipe has staying power.
The three-ingredient cocktail is most often reserved for college drinkers who have just discovered the awesomeness of The Dude and realized that Screwdrivers will only get you so far. In fact, there’s a good chance that the White Russian was the first actual cocktail you ever made [editor’s note: guilty]. But as an adult, you probably aren’t enjoying that sweet, milky drink quite as often as you should be. It’s time to change that.
Here, three reasons why the White Russian is one of the best cocktails around—and why you should make one right now.
1. The White Russian Is Stupidly Simple
Three ingredients in equal parts—cocktailing doesn’t get much easier than that. Even the most inexperienced bartenders can master this classic. While coffee liqueur and heavy cream give it a rich, decadent texture and flavor, vodka gives the drink serious backbone. The best part? You don’t even have to shake it. Throw it all in a glass, stir and drink.
2. The White Russian Will Give You More Than Just a Boozy Buzz
Though this coffee liqueur-spiked cocktail can’t (and shouldn’t) replace your morning cup of joe, it makes for a perfect happy hour pick-me-up. Most coffee liqueurs contain moderate amounts of caffeine—they are, after all, made with coffee beans. Kahlúa, the coffee liqueur most commonly used in White Russians, contains about 25 percent the amount of caffeine as regular coffee. And other craft coffee liqueurs may contain even more, so don’t be afraid to swap out the standard Kahlúa for something a little more exciting.
3. There’s No Wrong Time to Drink a White Russian
The White Russian is nothing if not versatile. The genius amalgam of sweet, bitter and boozy can ease you into a Sunday, serve as a delightfully boozy afternoon pick-me-up, or bring any meal to a close, acting as both dessert and nightcap. There’s nothing the White Russian can’t do. But keep in mind: It is made with heavy cream, so don’t go too overboard with your newly revitalized love of the White Russian, unless you, like The Dude, can get away with wearing a bathrobe in public to cover up that booze belly.