The “White Russian” cocktail is made from vodka, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua or Tia Maria), and cream. The “Black Russian” cocktail does not include cream.
Heublein, Inc., the Connecticut-based distributors of Smirnoff Vodka, attempted to trademark “White Russian” in June 1962 and probably popularized the name. “Black Russian” is cited in print from 1957.
Wikipedia: White Russian (cocktail)
A White Russian is a sweet cocktail made from vodka, coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa or Tia Maria), and cream served in an old-fashioned glass with ice. Milk is often used as a substitute for cream.
Origin of the name
The drink is not traditionally Russian, but is so named due to vodka being the primary ingredient. The “White Russians” were an anti-Bolshevik group from the Russian Civil War.
The Oxford English Dictionary online refers to the first mention of the word “White Russian” in the sense of a cocktail as appearing in the Oakland (California) Tribune on 21 November 1965. It was placed in the newspaper as an insert: “White Russian. 1 oz. each Coffee Southern, vodka, cream.”
. White Russians are the favored drink of “The Dude” character in The Big Lebowski. He also refers to them as Caucasians.
. In the movie Catwoman, the title character orders a White Russian with no vodka, no ice, and no Kahlúa, making it simply a glass of cream/milk.
. White Russian was a popular flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, although it is no longer produced. The ice cream was based on the flavor of the drink, and included Kahlúa flavoring.
As with all cocktails, various modes of preparation exist, varying according to the recipes and styles of particular bars or mixologists. Most common varieties have adjusted amounts of vodka or coffee liqueur, or mixed brands of coffee liqueur. Shaking the cream in order to thicken it prior to pouring it over the drink is also common. It is important to note that Kahlúa is the brand of coffee liqueur most commonly associated with White Russians, mostly because it has become something of a genericized trademark for coffee liqueur; a recipe for the beverage is also present on the back of a bottle of Kahlúa.
Kahlúa is a well known Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur. It is heavy and sweet, with a distinct taste of coffee, from which it is made. Kahlua also contains sugar, corn syrup, vanilla bean, and Vodka.
Allied Domecq, which was created in 1994 as the result of a merger between Allied Lyons and Pedro Domecq, had produced Kahlúa since 1936 until the company was partially acquired in 2005 by Pernod Ricard, the first largest spirits distributor in the world since the merger with the Swedish “Vin & Sprit” in March 2008.
Kahlúa is used to make cocktails and as a topping or ingredient in several desserts, including ice cream, cakes, and cheesecakes.
A few notable cocktails made with Kahlúa include the B-52, Baby Guinness, Mudslide, and the White Russian and Black Russian.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
White Russian, n. and adj.
A cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream or milk. Cf. Black Russian n. at BLACK adj. Additions.
1965 Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 21 Nov. (insert) White Russian. 1 oz. each Coffee Southern, vodka, cream.
1978 Washington Post (Nexis) 17 Mar. B1 Two white Russians, a gin and tonic and a Schlitz.
2001 P. REIZIN Dumping Hilary (2002) viii. 258 We haven’t gone out. Darkness has fallen and we’ve moved on from white wine to White Russians.
16-18 July 2004, Metro (NY edition), “The Imbiber: Poor-man mixers you can stomach” by Dan Dunn:
ON A DARE last weekend, The Imbiber tried something called a ”White-trash Russian“: A dreadful combination of Bowman’s Virginia vodka and Yoo-Hoo. I’m almost certain it did some irreparable damage to my stomach lining and, quite possibly, the central nervous system.
New York (NY) Times
White Russians Arise, This Time at a Bowling Alley
By STEVEN KURUTZ
Published: December 2, 2008
AMONG the significant dates in the history of Kahlúa, the Mexican coffee liqueur, surely March 6, 1998, rates a mention.
That was the release date of “The Big Lebowski,” the Coen Brothers movie about an aging slacker who calls himself the Dude, and who, after a thug urinates on his prized rug, becomes caught up in a Chandleresque mystery.
Played with slouchy brio by Jeff Bridges, the Dude’s chief pursuits involve bowling, avoiding work and drinking White Russians, the sweet cocktail made with vodka, Kahlúa and cream or milk.
The movie was a flop when it was released, but in the decade since, “The Big Lebowski” has attracted a cult following, and as the film’s renown has grown, so has the renown of the White Russian, or, as the Dude calls them, “Caucasians.” The drink is the subject of experimentation at cutting-edge bars like Tailor, in SoHo, which serves a crunchy dehydrated version — a sort of White Russian cereal. The British electro-pop band Hot Chip, meanwhile, recently invented a variation named the Black Tarantula. Not long ago, the cocktail was considered passé and often likened, in its original formula, to an alcoholic milkshake.
“When I first encountered it in the 1970s, the White Russian was something real alcoholics drank, or beginners,” said David Wondrich, the drinks correspondent for Esquire. Now, ordering the drink is “the mark of the hipster,” he said.
Word Mark WHITE RUSSIAN
Goods and Services (EXPIRED) IC 033. US 049. G & S: WHISKEY, GIN, AND VODKA. FIRST USE: 19620622. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19620622
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 72149464
Filing Date July 20, 1962
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0750988
Registration Date June 11, 1963
Owner (REGISTRANT) HEUBLEIN, INC. CORPORATION CONNECTICUT 330 NEW PARK AVE. HARTFORD CONNECTICUT
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15.
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
New York City • Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, December 03, 2008 • Permalink