Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

What Youth Drinks: White Russian A Recipe Done Properly

Words: Karina Chahal

Some consider it a “guilty pleasure,” the Dude often refers to it as a “Caucasian,” but the simple luxury of a White Russian isn’t lost on anyone who knows what’s good for them. It’s the kind of drink that seems implicitly appropriate at any time of day because of the coffee liqueur and milk…at least that’s what I tell myself.

It’s actually a rather recent concoction popularized by you guessed it, the Coen brothers classic: The Big Lebowski. It most likely stemmed from the Black Russian which was first noted in 1949. We’re not exactly sure which one came first, but a Black Russian is just a White Russian sans cream.

This past, salty summer in Santa Cruz, my friends and I perched ourselves on the edge of the cliff that the Surf Museum Lighthouse sits on and enjoyed the adult version of the SC classic Marianne’s ice cream float. The juxtaposition of a low-key childhood tradition and a somewhat classier adult beverage made this afternoon so delightful that it quickly became the summer of the White Russian. Without a lack of caffeine or calories, we had the necessary energy to fully savor the mischief of seemingly endless Santa Cruz summer nights. I’ll save the naughty stories for another time, back to the matter at hand:

By the looks of it, one might shy away from attempting to construct this classic cocktail. But it’s pretty quick, you don’t have to cut anything, you don’t have to dirty several different utensils, and most of all–you can’t get it wrong. Step one, put your favorite shades on. This is a trick they don’t tell you about in mixology school. But don’t worry, I’ve got you. Next, combine 2 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce of coffee liqueur(like Kahlua). Then, add an ounce of milk or cream. Finally, throw some ice in and revel in your own personal slice of paradise.

While I typically make my own, there are a couple bars in California that are worth mentioning when discussing White Russians. In San Francisco, Club Deluxe in Haight Ashbury make theirs with cream whipped right in front of your eyes. Franklin & Co Tavern in LA have crafted a swell milkshake version for those looking to indulge even further.

There are, however, some noteworthy variations. Replacing the cream/milk with horchata is a personal favorite. Others use Irish Whiskey and Bailey’s. Sometimes I add chocolate syrup because I’m here for a good time not a long time. Either way you go, creative or not, it’s never failed to make my friends and I feel a little buzzed…er I mean, it’s never failed to tantalize our sophisticated palates. -Karina Chahal


  • 2 oz Vodka.
  • 1 oz Coffee Liqueur (Like Kahlua)
  • 1/2 oz Whole Milk or Heavy Cream
  • Ice
  • Enjoy

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: Sazerac An Evening Delight

Here’s a drink to reach for, the official cocktail from New Orleans: the Sazerac. With its ample bitters and sepia spirit, the drink is earthy and deep yet subtly sweet. While it’s served in an ice-cold glass, the unusually warm quality of rye whiskey gives me those fireside holiday vibes. It was made with absinthe…

What Youth Drinks: White Russian A Recipe Done Properly

Some consider it a “guilty pleasure,” the Dude often refers to it as a “Caucasian,” but the simple luxury of a White Russian isn’t lost on anyone who knows what’s good for them. It’s the kind of drink that seems implicitly appropriate at any time of day because of the coffee liqueur and milk…at least…

Radical Class: Some Weekend Reading A book about Australia (it’s that time again!) from an author we can’t get enough of

“Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn’t have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn’t…

Five Songs For Your Next Surf Clip Here’s “Wonderwall” or something or other.

You ever sit down to enjoy the latest web clip and start off thinking, “Hey, the surfing here isn’t terrible.” But then, oh let’s say thirty-seconds into everything, you change your tone. Something’s not quite right. Tilting your head to the side, you raise your eyebrows a bit and say to yourself, “But the music…

What Youth Eats: Open Fire Soup When the thermometer drops, cook outside! Here’s how.

When you get close to Christmas and New Years it’s too easy to sink in to the hole of your living room, stuffed from eating and drinking heavily since Thanksgiving and let the anxieties of 12-hour family days and new year’s expectations to start creeping in. So if that is what actually ended up happening…

What Youth Drinks: Tropical Eggnog Happy Holidays, But First Drink this Punch     

To quote maybe every other person right now, “it’s been quite a year, right?” So much emotion! So much drama! Never the less we’re here, hopefully gathering around a table with a bunch of family to reconnect, catch up, etc.. But as beautiful as the idea of family togetherness is, 10-12 extended family members sitting…

what youth recommends top 5 books holiday break

Books we recommend for holiday break Spark up a fire and put some words through your mind for the holidays.

The next two weeks are an opportunity. A break. A moment to find clarity and inspiration. For most of us, in between the family gatherings and trips and travel and chaos there is a year wrapping up, and an opportunity to squeak in one or two more books to our count for the year. And believe…

what youth radical class cocktails with paul brewer

What Youth Drinks Building Blocks to a Great Cocktail

Did you know making cocktails is as easy as 1-2-3? Well, it can be with Booze-Acid-Sugar. In this brave new world of crazy ass cocktails, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all these circus dick concoctions. Artisanal aperitifs, flavored vodkas, and flair-full garnishes are all real fancy, but sometimes they cloud the basics. Because, when…

Radical Class: What Youth Reads Homage to Catalonia: a book seven decades young and still topical!

The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners are alike appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality. The one word that no foreigner can avoid learning is mañana.—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia I bring books with me when I go on vacation for two reasons. One, I struggle…

Radical Class: “The Center Will Not Hold” Definitely watch the new Netflix documentary on writer Joan Didion

In a world full of chaos, absurdity, tragedy and Stranger Things, it’s always nice to find some larger perspective in a good old fashioned documentary. And the latest on writer Joan Didion is that. Few names have encouraged an entire generation of people and writers the way she has. And just a few minutes into the…

Radical Class, What Youth Drinks, Paul Brewer

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: COCCI AMERICANO An Easy, Inexpensive way to Live that Riviera High Life

I snagged a bottle of this Cocci Americano stuff after seeing it on the shelf at a cocktail bar in Long Beach, CA. It was an impromptu buy — I didn’t know what it was or what to do with it, but thought I’d figure it out. Experiment! Cocktail jazz improvisation! While I’ll save the…

Radical Class, Berlin, Adam Warren

Radical Class: Hope from the Road Just when you thought it was all over: there is Berlin  

Turns out there is still hope out there. Out there, beyond your day-to-day, somewhere out on the road its not all politics, hurricanes, bad vibes and bad memes. In fact, the other day I found myself way outside the bad lands somewhere in Berlin. Just off the plane I walked around the Mitte District. I meandered…

Sign up for letters from What Youth

By enabling this page, you are acknowledging and accepting our privacy terms and conditions.