For those of you that did not know (which until 10 minutes ago included myself), Jan 11 was National Milk Day.
The iconic film The Big Lebowski brought us The Hotel California en espanol and the almost barely social acceptability of surfer nonchalance wrapped in a flannel bathrobe. Yet, oftentimes in discussions of the cinematic masterpiece, a certain supporting character is ignored, despite sharing screen time with laid-back protagonist Jeff Bridges, often bi (polar) curious John Goodman and the excessively ophthalmic Steve Buscemi. Who do I speak of? Not the vamp green pinky toenail of B-actress Tara Reid, no, I speak of one whose performance was and continues to intoxicate both on and off screen. I refer to “The Dude’s” signature drink: the White Russian, or the Caucasian.
An octogenarian bar patron described a barely post prohibition era pre-Lebowskian lactose infused drink which I had never had the privilege to make, let alone drink. Between snorts of pure oxygen periodically bursting from his breathing tube he informed me that the concoction consisted of Coconut rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and 2% milk—comparable to variations on today’s Dreamsicle cocktails—minus the addition of unfortunately flavored vanilla bean or whipped cream sub-standard vodkas plaguing the shelves of liquor stores and bars across the continental U.S. As my taste buds contemplated the cocktail in question (whose name the patron failed to remember) I felt a shudder in my palate—if one’s palate is capable of such involuntary vasoconstrictions/dilations.
However, the lack of--ugh involuntary shudder--flavored vodka made me appreciate the simpler times when bartenders didn’t have to rely on stockpiles of flavorless potato swill infused with the essence of jack and dragon fruits. No, the master bartenders of the past utilized any available resources.
While a part of me physically could not mix The-drink-that-can-not-be-remembered it immediately rang the proverbial bell of “The Dude” approved dairy based cocktails.
So in honor of National Milk Day I’ve concocted a few lactose-tolerant libations, none of which involve pre-flavored, barely potent potato-based potables.
Basically an homage to your elementary school days of opening (or in my case struggling with the cardboard spout of a low-fat chocolate milk carton to the point that papery cardboard sherds exceeded milk volume).
1 ¼ vodka
½ oz coffee liqueur
Low-fat chocolate milk
Serve over ice
ignore the ripped bits of cardboard detritus
1 oz vodka
¼ oz Rumplemintz or Peppermint Schnapps
½ oz butterscotch schnapps
¼ oz Irish cream
Serve on the rocks or in a shot glass
1 oz vodka
½ ounce Frangelico
¼ oz chocolate liqueur
¼ shot butterscotch schnapps
Top with a thin layer of coffee, amaretto or, chocolate infused froth, thick enough to support a fancy chocolate syrup design (phallic chocolate cartoon caricature optional).
So, here are some of my spins on the White Russian. Often I denounce using the bland, overrated potato-based booze—but in honor of National Milk Day, “The Dude” and the appeal of donning a tattered bath robe at all times I wish you good libations—but watch out for East Asian urination on that rug that really ties the room together.