Brando Russian/ Photo by Brittany Conerly
This recipe is adapted from Pour Me Another, a new cookbook featuring cocktail recipes by mixologist and James Beard Award-winning editorial director of Milk Street J.M. Hirsch.
Supposedly created in Belgium by barman Gustave Tops during the late 1940s, the Black Russian is a basic blend of two parts vodka to one part Kahlúa. Add heavy cream or milk and it becomes a White Russian. The trouble with the Black Russian is that there isn’t a whole lot happening.
The vodka doesn’t bring much more than booziness to the table, which means you’re pretty much sipping boosted Kahlúa. The fix, however, is simple. The drink becomes a Brando Russian if you add orange bitters to the mix. That and a splash of orange liqueur are just right to add the balancing bright notes this otherwise simple cocktail needs.
How to Make A Brando Russian
In a stirring glass, combine the vodka, Kahlúa, orange liqueur and bitters.
Stir with ice cubes.
Strain into a rocks glass with 1 large or 2 standard ice cubes.