The Mixology Monday theme this month is "Guilty Pleasures." Like it or not, many cocktailians (including , um, yours truly) raise their noses in the air. It can be part of truly appreciating what you've spent a great deal of time contemplating, but it can also come across as base snobbery. As host Stevi Deter puts it, "in the world of cocktail bloggery, we are often pronouncing certain drinks, categories of drinks, and even an entire base spirit to be the sign of a poorly educated drinker’s palate. There seems to be no room for comfort cocktails." Well, I think this one definitely qualifies as a comfort cocktail. It's sweet, has cream in it, and the base spirit is vodka. What could be more self-indulgent? It's even identified with the ultimate slacker touchstone, "The Big Lebowski," spawner of fan fests and souvenir products. (Say what you will about Achievers, at least it's an ethos.) The movie, which was released ten years ago this week, was described by the BBC as "two hours of wild self-indulgence", and clearly the "Caucasian" is a drink that fits the bill.
The White Russian is a simple cocktail, with just three ingredients; its origins lie in the even simpler Black Russian. Invented by Gustav Tops, a bartender at Brussels' Hotel Metropole in the late 1940s, the Black Russian consists solely of Kahlúa and vodka over crushed ice. (Tops concocted the drink to honor U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg (and society hostess) Perle Mesta, who also inspired the Irving Berlin musical "Call Me Madam.") The White Russian simply adds cream, though the Dude was known to occasionally take his with half-and-half. (During the movie, he drinks nine White Russians -- and drops one, though that one had a Mickey Finn as the unauthorized secret ingredient. I don't recommend adding that to your recipe, though it may result in vivid dreams and cab rides involving the Eagles.)
Proportions of the ingredients vary all over the place: the IBA and Wikipedia specify five parts vodka, two parts Kahlúa, and three parts cream, but I prefer the more common proportions from DrinkBoy and elsewhere:
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Kahlúa
- 1/2 oz. cream or half-and-half.
Build over ice in a rocks glass, floating the cream on top. Abide.
The bums may have lost, but they have a hell of a drink to console them. And I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that.