The Caucasian from the former Soviet Union

Had a book club meeting at my house last night, and we gathered to discuss one of our more weighty picks, Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (while I’d like to leave it at that, and therefore suggest that we are a group of highly polished intellectuals who gather and wax philosophical, fulfilling our longing for mental stimulation outside of professional and maternal lives, I feel somehow obligated to mention that last month’s book was Just Do It — we like to think of ourselves as a book club with variety).

So, have you ever read NfromU? Right. Let’s just say it’s not the feel-good comedy of the year (though I must interject that, joking aside, I love me some Dostoevsky, dark depravity and all). We like to organize the refreshments around the book we’ve read, and since this month’s meeting was at my place, I made some calls on what was served. There is usually some sort of beverage available at our meetings, though not everyone partakes, it being a weeknight and all. It only seemed appropriate that a discussion that might include delving into questions concerning our own personal Underground characteristics (it didn’t) should include that shining star of Eastern European distilleries: vodka. And while I doubt our friend Fyodor would’ve stirred coffee-flavored liqueur and cream into his cocktail, we did. Although only two of us actually finished the book (intentional stab of guilt to my fellow clubbies), everyone enjoyed a white russian (except Stacy, who took hers dairy-free).

The most intoxicated I’ve been as an adult (keep in mind that I don’t get out much, and on top of that don’t enjoy being drunk, so tend to avoid over-consumption) was a direct result of drinking a white russian. Tim and I were dating, and had been invited to our friends Tim and Rosie’s place for dinner. As a pre-dinner drink, Rosie had made a pitcher of white russians (the pitcher part always amuses me, in retrospect; a pitcher of margaritas, yes — but a pitcher of white russians?). I took my glass and enjoyed every last drop — what’s not to like? We then sat down to dinner, and about 15 minutes in, I realized that I needed to visit the restroom. I also realized that I didn’t think I could make it there. I had no choice but to confess both of these facts to everyone at the table, between uncontrollable giggles. We were all a bit confused as to why I was such an unbelievable lightweight, when Rosie revisited her “recipe” for the “pitcher” and realized she had inadvertently doubled all the alcohol, and had served me a drink not in a highball glass, but in a pint glass. I had drunk the equivalent of about 4 cocktails in a matter of 20 minutes. Being a somewhat smallish person who doesn’t tend toward keg stands, this perfect storm had its consequences.

But last night, I’m happy to say, everyone could find their own way to the restroom. We are a book club, after all; and while we like to get crazy with the variety of our picks, we’re not meeting for jello shots. I so enjoyed my drink last night that I had another tonight (we have a new bottle of Kaluah, after all). If you’ve never had one of these delightful dessert-cocktails, or haven’t in a while, dust off that old bottle of coffee liqueur and re-investigate. The IBA (International Bartenders Association — I only know this from wikipedia) specifies a vodka-heavy drink; but I prefer mine with more Kaluah, and that’s how we made them last night (call me a girl, if you wish):

  • 1 oz Kaluah
  • 1/2 oz vodka
  • half-n-half

Pour your Kaluah and vodka into a highball (not a pint) glass filled with ice cubes. Top off with cream (or combination of cream and milk), and gently stir.

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