White Russian Wahine

white Russian wahine

I’m staying with my wonderful friend Vladis for a week.  On her 90th birthday, I created this drink and named it after her.  Of course there is a story behind this drink.

Vladis was born during the Russian Rev0lution just outside of Valdivostok.  Her family had fled the Reds all the way to this Pacific port city.  Her parents found work at a local hospital staffed by Red Cross nurses.  One of these nurses, a young woman from Ireland, had been placed at the hospital but had been sent there from Hawaii, and planned to return to Hawaii when her service in Russia was completed.  ]

The nurse saw a weak fragile Russian baby in the hospital.  Vladis’ parents were very poor and struggling to raise other children as well.  The nurse fell in love with this baby and approached the family and offered to adopt her.  The nurse told the family that she would take Vladis to a warm place (Hawaii) where she would have plenty to eat and would be safe.  The family agreed.  A few months later, the nurse sailed with this baby girl to Honolulu.  Shortly thereafter, the Bolsheviks entered Vladivostok and slaughtered all the Russians there who had cooperated with the Westerners.  We believe that Vladis’ entire family was killed.

Vladis grew up a barefoot tomboy in Hawaii, climbing coconut trees.  Her mother bought a home that had been owned by one of the members of the Royal Hawaiian family and ran it as an inn.  The house was destroyed on December 7, 1941 when an incapacitated Japanese Zero plane crashed into it, setting fire to the house and razing it to the ground.   All that survived were a few marble wash stands and two pieces of China, which Vladis still has in her possession to this day.

Vladis is a lovely lady with a wicked sense of humor.  I love having lunch with her, taking her shopping and listening to her stories.  She was a dancer in her youth, and at 91 still tends to her garden and is flexible enough to bend down and touch her toes.  For those of you out there, talk to you older relatives.  They have amazing stories to tell.  When I arrived here on Wednesday, the first thing I did was fix Vladis her drink and we sat down to visit. 

  • 1 oz Kahlua liquor
  • 1 oz Russian vodka
  • 2 oz light coconut milk

Pour all ingredients over ice, shake and strain into a glass.

So here’s to Vladis:  Budem zdorovy!  Okole maluna!

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