6 White Russian Variations

While it doesn't have speakeasy roots or a fashionably bitter edge, bartenders have taken a shine to the White Russian lately, updating it with artisan coffee liqueurs and infused syrups. But even with these high-minded tweaks, it remains an easy-drinking libation. Here are six of our favorite adaptations.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

Vodka, coffee, coffee liqueur, and cream are mixed with vanilla liqueur in this cocktail, which sits somewhere between a classic espresso martini and a White Russian.Ingalls Photography
The Dude

The Dude

In this ode to The Big Lebowski’s signature drink, Xavier Herit, bartender at New York City’s Wallflower, concocted an upmarket riff on the White Russian with cognac, port, and real coffee in place of vodka and coffee liqueur. He advises using a dry shake, sans ice, to froth the egg white for this righteous libation.Ingalls Photography
White Nun

White Nun

For this hot version of the White Russian, bartender Isaac Shumway of San Francisco’s Tosca Cafe ditches the vodka, mixing brandy and coffee liqueur with a hot coffee-cream mixture, and topping with cappuccino-like crown of frothed cream.Ingalls Photography
Ozark Speedball

Ozark Speedball

At House Spirits in Portland, Oregon, white whiskey takes the place of vodka in this interpretation of the White Russian. Drops of orange oil on top of the drink lend it a citrusy aroma.Ingalls Photography
Dulce y Salado White Russian

Dulce y Salado

Bartender Chantal Tseng of sherry-centric bar Mockingbird Hill in Washington D.C. uses sherry and peanut rum liqueur in this rich twist on the White Russian.Ingalls Photography
Petit Café

Petit Café

Almost a cross between a White Russian and an Irish coffee, H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco created this cocktail, which features potent green chartreuse, for the 2006 Chartreuse Cocktail Competition.Ingalls Photography