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A Love Letter to the White Russian

Frank Guerriero

December 13, 2019

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Photo: James Ho and Jeni Afuso

This Happy Hour, we’re talking about the White Russian, and we’re not going to be jerks about it. We won’t ironically encourage you to reach for that dusty bottle of Kahlua on the bottom shelf of your liquor cabinet and indulge in your grandmother’s favorite glorified milkshake, and we’re definitely not going to mention that movie. Instead, we and the James Beard Award winners behind Cocktail Codex want you to make this seasonal classic simply because—when done right—it’s a respectable, delectable cocktail.

The recipe for this variation on the flip template insists on premium ingredients, as the drink’s simplicity is sure to expose any weak links. Start with a pour of high-quality vodka (the Codex crew likes Absolut Elyx) and complex Caffé Lolita coffee liqueur in a double old-fashioned glass. After a quick stir to chill the ingredients, layer some half-and-half (don’t’ let heavy cream anywhere near this delicate cocktail) over the top. Garnish with coffee beans and remind your friends why the White Russian remains the supreme holiday cocktail. Get the recipe.

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Frank Guerriero is the media assistant at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.