Thirsty Thursday: "Another Caucasian, Gary"
Some foods and drinks are so closely tied with a fictional character, it's nearly impossible to think of one without the other. Reese's Pieces will forever be the candy choice of E.T.s everywhere, while Turkish Delight is apparently tasty enough to sell out your siblings to the White Witch. And don't even think of ordering a shaken martini without using James Bond's now famous instructions. In a similar vein, I doubt anyone reading this blog doesn't hear the words "White Russian" and immediately think of one man: The Dude.
The Big Lebowski was released to mixed critical response and a box office whimper in 1998. Following the Coen Brother's previous film, Fargo, and all of its Academy Award prestige, The Big Lebowski was an odd, vulgar, hilarious take on the neo-noir that left many audiences confused. Over the next few years, however, home video rentals and cable viewings led to a dedicated cult following that kept the film from fading into obscurity. Calling themselves the Achievers, as in "Little Lebowski Urban Achievers", fans hold midnight screenings, can quote the movie from beginning to end, and even gather for a yearly "Lebowski Fest", a celebration of all things Lebowski.
The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, is the slacker all other slackers aspire to be. He's a reluctant hero turned up to 11, and were it not for those pesky thugs who destroyed his rug (the one that "really tied the room together"), you get the sense he'd be content to do nothing but drink, smoke and bowl for the rest of his days. His commitment to a life of lazy indulgence is somewhat inspiring, and in that way, the White Russian seems a perfect drink for him. Its mix of alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat make it one of the most decadent of drinks, a mix of 4 vices in one, but it only requires 3 ingredients.
The history of the White Russian is a bit muddled. The Oxford English Dictionary marks its first publication in, appropriately for Los Angeles-based Lebowski, a California newspaper in 1965. But over at the Alcohol Enthusiast, they found an ad for Coffee Southern Liqueur which predates the Oakland paper by a few months. Either Southern came up with the recipe for this ad, or people had simply been adding cream to their Black Russians for a while, and this is the first known instance that someone decided to write it down.
Either way, the recipe is a simple one. Just mix vodka, coffee liqueur and cream. The Dude seems to go heavy on the vodka and prefers half and half to full-fat cream, so that's what we're going with for today's recipe.
The Dude's White Russian
2 parts vodka
1 part kahlua
1 part half and half
Pour over ice in a tumbler, stir and enjoy. And remember: The Dude Abides.