White Russian (Variation)

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Cocktail History

The White Russian is a classic cocktail that has been made as far back as the 1960s but rose to prominence after being featured in the 1998 movie The Big Lebowski. The original is traditionally made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream, but this variation created by Brooklyn bartender Toby Cecchini and included in The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH is more complex. It swaps out the base spirit for a Jamaican rum and floats a whipped nutty cream mixture on top.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Dark Rum: This is the base spirit. We chose Flor De Caña 4 Year Añego Oro Rum for its light and airy aromas of vanilla and almond with flavors of white chocolate and citrus, which we knew would pair well with the other ingredients.

Coffee Liqueur: This adds more coffee flavor. We used Trader Vic’s Kona Coffee Liqueur because it’s delicious and robust in coffee taste.

Luxardo Amaro Abano: This is a digestif that adds its unique spiced flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, condurango, bitter orange peels, and cinchona.

Amaretto Liqueur: This is an Italian liqueur that adds sweetness as well as a slightly nutty flavor.

Heavy Cream: This gives the drink its creamy texture. We typically use half & half instead because it’s flavorful while still being lighter on the calories, but you can also use heavy cream or milk.

Tasting Notes

This variation of the White Russian features distinct almond and coffee aromas, the banana taste of the Jamaican rum front and center on the sip, deep notes of coffee while holding in the mouth and after you swallow, and a nutty aftertaste from the amaretto.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: The Luxardo Amaro gives an extra bit of chocolatey spice to the whole experience, setting this one apart as the top contender for best White Russian riff either of us had ever had.

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Dark Rum
 1 ½ oz Coffee Liqueur
 ¼ oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
 ¼ oz Amaretto Liqueur
 3 oz Heavy Cream

Method
1

Add heavy cream and amaretto liqueur to a shaker.

2

Dry shake for 10 seconds.

3

Pour into a glass.

4

Add rum, coffee liqueur, Amaro Abano, and ice to shaker.

5

Shake for 10-20 more seconds.

6

Strain into a lowball glass.

7

Carefully float cream on top.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Dark Rum
 1 ½ oz Coffee Liqueur
 ¼ oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
 ¼ oz Amaretto Liqueur
 3 oz Heavy Cream

Directions

Method
1

Add heavy cream and amaretto liqueur to a shaker.

2

Dry shake for 10 seconds.

3

Pour into a glass.

4

Add rum, coffee liqueur, Amaro Abano, and ice to shaker.

5

Shake for 10-20 more seconds.

6

Strain into a lowball glass.

7

Carefully float cream on top.

White Russian (Variation)

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Coffee Cocktails

If you like this coffee-flavored cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

 The Marriage of Maguey: A mezcal and tequila cocktail made with coffee chocolate liqueur, orange curaçao, and agave syrup

El Duque: A rum and cream sherry cocktail made with cold-brew coffee, chocolate bitters, and a lemon twist

 Sabueso Old Fashioned: A tequila and mezcal cocktail made with caramel coffee syrup, coffee and chocolate bitters, and an orange peel

 Mocha Rum Toddy: A rum cocktail made with coffee, dark crème de cacao, simple syrup, whipped cream, and cocoa powder

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