11 October 2009

Careful, there's a beverage here

Last night we had our much anticipated and much planned La Fete Lebowski, a celebration of all things Big Lebowski. We wore robes, we (Wii) bowled, we watched the film, and we made white russians (which we call mzungus here), a drink with which no Lebowski celebration can be without.

We stockpiled vodka and Kahlua for months. When I traveled through Nairobi earlier this week I grabbed an additional bottle of each from the duty-free shop and it's a good thing, because we opened those last two bottles. They can both be purchased here but can be quite expensive and may not be top quality.

When making white russians in a country where you can't run down to the Ralphs for some half-and-half, it's important to test your recipe ahead of time with the different milks you have available. As far as I'm concerned, white russians made from irradiated pouch milk are utterly disgusting. We decided to use our fresh milk source and everyone raved about how great our white russians were.

In a place where beverage options can be mind-numbingly limited at parties--Coke, Fanta, Primus, Fruito, Amstel grande and Amstel petite--expect that more people will choose to drink your signature drink than, well, you expect. We bought a lot of extra milk for the party and didn't think we'd go through it all. We assumed that the cream, sugar, and alcohol content would keep folks to one or two white russians each. (I certainly couldn't have had more than two without yakking.) But a novel beverage choice was extremely popular and by the time the movie ended we were out of milk; folks were adding dry milk powder, Lebowski-style, to straight Kahlua.

Mike and I took turns tending bar and used a simple, basic recipe:

1 part Kahlua
1 part vodka
1 part full-cream milk
over ice

Some people added additional splashes of their favorite ingredient.

Vodka and other distilled beverages are widely regarded as gluten-free. However, if you're unsure, find a potato-based vodka with no additives. Most sources state Kahlua as being gluten-free. (It sneakily contains dairy, which is what gives some people a reaction; however, if you're drinking white russians I certainly hope you are dairy-tolerant.)

I actually didn't get to drink much white russian. The one that's in the photo is one I made earlier in the day, while we were prepping for the party and testing proportions. I only took a few sips because I didn't want to be wasted before the party even started. Then, later, I made one to drink while watching the film but I put it down on a table for a minute and it disappeared. After the film I tried for the third time, just to discover we were out of milk. And I didn't relish the thought of milk powder so I gave up for the night.

We have enough Kahlua and vodka so that the next time we buy milk I can make a white russian to sit and enjoy quietly.

Cross-posted at What I Eat

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