How Is A Black Russian Cocktail Different From A White Russian?

If you've ever seen The Big Lebowski, you're definitely familiar with the White Russian. The main character, aka "the Dude," carries around the creamy cocktail for what seems like the whole movie (via Kitchn). But what about the White Russian's equally delicious sibling the Black Russian? 

What transforms a Black Russian into the Dude's drink of choice? That's easy, just a splash of cream. A Black Russian, according to The Kitchen Magpie, is a mix of one part Kahlúa to two parts vodka, leaving the cocktail a dark brownish-black color from the Kahlúa. In case you aren't familiar, Kahlúa is a tasty blend of rum, arabica coffee, sugar, and vanilla that is often mixed into a sweet cocktail or sipped solo, according to Spoon University. In a White Russian, the proportions are a little different to include the cream — so it's equal parts of vodka, Kahlúa, and heavy cream. Both classic cocktails are meant to be served on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass, says The Kitchen Magpie.

The origin of the Black and White Russian

The origin of the Black and White Russian was simultaneous, both the brain-child of a Belgian bartender named Gustave Tops. Vinepair explains that Tops invented the cocktails when he was working at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels in honor of Perle Mesta — the U.S. ambassador of Luxembourg at the time. Vinepair also notes that the reason the drinks are denoted as "Russian" is due to the presence of vodka, a key ingredient in both drinks. 

Black and White Russians aren't the only variations of the recipe though. The Colorado Bulldog is a cousin to the cocktails, with the same ingredients as a classic White Russian, just topped with a spritz of cola to finish it off, according to The Kitchen Magpie. Another relative would be the Brown Russian, which takes the cocktail one step closer to a dessert by adding creme de cacao and chocolate syrup to the vodka and cream, says The Kitchen Magpie. Whichever variation you decide to sip on, you're sure to enjoy the Dude-approved beverage.