The Easter Season is a time of great joy and celebration, and, of course, the return of our Easter Drinks series. I begin this Easter season with one of my favorite dessert drinks, the White Russian.
The White Russian, as you might guess by the use of vodka, is a modern drink, born and raised in the late 20th century. But don’t let that deter you – it’s an excellent after dinner cocktail and one of the few decent drinks made with vodka.
Most modern cocktails find their roots in the classics, and this is no exception. The White Russian is predated by the Alexander, a drink made with 1/3 brandy or gin, 1/3 white crème de cacao (a chocolate liqueur), and 1/3 cream. Replace the brandy or gin with vodka (hence “Russian”) and swap the chocolate liqueur for coffee liqueur – and there you have it, a White Russian, sometimes referred to simply as a Russian. Subtract the cream and you have a Black Russian.
A properly prepared White Russian should layer the cream on top of the spirits. Cream is one of the easier ingredients in any layered cocktail because it naturally floats above higher proof liquors. The trick is to slowly pour the cream over a spoon after you’ve poured in the vodka and coffee liquor. Then give it a single slow stir before serving. Careful preparation of a layered cocktail lends much to the aesthetics of the drink.