In my experience, the White Russian is a drink everyone loves but few remember to order. As it happens, it was the first mixed drink I ever truly enjoyed—perhaps it was the velvety swirl of cream that softened the boozy punch of vodka just enough for my unseasoned palate—so I like to revisit it every year when the weather starts to cool. This year I opted to modify the classic recipe with a sprinkle of activated charcoal. This tasteless powder (all the rage right now due to its purifying properties) instantly turns the mixture of Kahlua and vodka from dark brown to the blackest of black. All that’s left to do is swirl in some heavy cream for a spooky, ghostlike finish.
And for extra Halloween flair, top this tipple off with a edible skull drink stirrer made from white chocolate. It’s a super-easy DIY that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth—because if you’re old enough to drink this drink, you’re too old to go trick-or-treating. We all have our crosses to bear.
• 1 part Kahlua
• 2 parts vodka
• 1 part heavy cream
• 1 activated charcoal pill
1. Fill glass with ice. Add Kahlua, vodka and charcoal (just pop open the pill and tip the powder in) and stir.
2. Top with heavy cream. Pro tip: to get the swirled, layered look, slowly pour the cream down the back of a spoon.
To make the skull-topped drink stirrers:
1. Melt white chocolate in the microwave and pour into a skull mold. I used this one. Refrigerate until solid.
2. Using a paring knife, chisel out a little channel in the base of each side of the skull (this sounds weirdly medical, no?). Make sure your drink stirrer fits nicely into the channels.
3. Melt a little more white chocolate and spread some on the skull halves. Place the drink stirrer between halves and press together until the two sides meet. Use your finger to smooth out any chocolate that may have oozed out. Refrigerate before serving.