Tuesday, July 29, 2008
With Apologies to the Dude...
The Dude- "Hey, careful man, theres a beverage here!"
The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite movies ever. Its one of those classics that keeps getting better as time passes and I keep getting older. Or am I maybe getting old and just reminiscing about the "good old days" when movies were good and Cokes only cost a nickel? Either way, its a damn fine movie, and the main character, the Dude, is an unabashed fan of one of the more run of the mill cocktails in the bar world, the White Russian.
I don't have anything against White Russians, they aren't bad, but I also don't find them to be the most distinctive cocktail. Me myself, in the rare occasions that I find myself in the mood for a cocktail with dairy products, I prefer a Separator, with a vs cognac (Hennessey works nicely) substituting for vodka. However, I recently received some cool new products from Three Olives Vodka, and a couple of the flavors made me decide to rethink the White Russian and see if I could improve it.
By the way, while I'm not the biggest fan of vodka in general, Three Olives is a top flight product and the samples that I received (Root Beer, Triple Shot Espresso and Tomato. Yes, Tomato, try it in a Bloody Mary) have a deep, natural flavor that mixes well in cocktails. Root Beer is an especially hard flavor to imbue into spirits without it tasting artificial or cloying, but Three Olives has created a true expression of good quality root beer in their vodka. But I digress.
I wanted to play around with the idea of a White Russian, so I chose the Triple Shot Espresso to stand in for the usual Kahlua base of the cocktail. One thing to note is that this is vodka, and 80 proof vodka at that, so it doesn't have a similar viscosity to Kahlua nor the sugar content. I prefer my cocktails on the dry side though, so this wasn't too much of a problem for me. I did note that by using the Triple Shot Espresso in leiu of Kahlua, the drink didn't separate and the cocktail had a deeper, richer flavor more reminiscent of espresso than coffee (as if that shouldn't have been obvious).
Next, I reached for the Root Beer vodka from Three Olives to replace the usual plain vodka in a White Russian. It turned out to be an inspired choice, although the resulting cocktail is more flavorful and interesting than a common White Russian. I just loved the interplay of notes between the Root Beer and the Triple Shot Espresso, I don't think I'm done playing with these yet. However, for tonight, I offer up my Three Olives variation of the White Russian.
1 oz Three Olives Triple Espresso Vodka
1 oz Three Olives Root Beer Vodka
4 oz half and half
Build dry in a mixing pint, add ice, shake to incorporate ingredients, and pour into a double rocks glass.
The Dude- "Yeah, well. The Dude abides."
The Stranger- "The Dude abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals."