The White Russian was made popular by ‘the dude’ aka Jeff Bridges, in the 1998 movie The Big Lebowski, but the cocktail has been around since the mid 1960’s. Since it’s called The White Russian, it makes sense to seem to think that the name would truly relate to the origin, though this isn’t the case.
To find out the origin of The White Russian you have to go all the way back and look at the origin of vodka. 1930 saw the first publication, The Savoy Cocktail Book, to include vodka in recipes. Vodka primarily came from Russia during this time it is believed.
One of the first vodka cocktails out of the Savoy cocktail book was known as the Russian, which including vodka, gin and crème de cacao. Next came various drinks with the word Russian in them before the White Russian became established.
The White Russian finally became established when it was first documented in the Oakland Tribune in 1965. Soon after the 70’s disco era saw the drinks’ popularity increase for a little while and then fade away.
The Big Lebowski bolstered the popularity of the drink again with the main character drinking the cocktail throughout the movie. Jeff Bridges playing the rebellious cool laid back ‘dude character while drinking The White Russian cocktail. This made it become cool again and made people want to start to drink it more and more.
Recipe for a White Russian has 2 oz. vodka 1 oz. Kahlúa, and heavy cream while being served in a old fashioned glass on the rocks. Even though the origin didn’t exactly come from Russia, due its name Russia still contributed to the creation of The White Russian as an importer of vodka early on.
A drink that people still order but has faded a little, The White Russian still is considered a famous cocktail due to its origins of where the drink started and the influence of the Big Lebowski and we will see if that can stand the test of time.
Pictures and Videos below for more Information:
– A picture of the first reference of The White Russian in a Newspaper ad.