Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Vodka Cocktails

Off-White Russian No. 1

Off-White Russian with vodka bottle and chocolate milk carton
Image: / Tim Nusog

In an ideal scenario, your cocktailing efforts include a well-stocked bar featuring all the liquors, liqueurs, mixers and fresh fruits and juices required to make the drinks you desire. In a less ideal but still quite advantageous scenario, you have a handful of basics to make simple classics like the Manhattan or Gin & Tonic. But sometimes, neither case is true and you must MacGyver your way to a good drink with ingredients like vodka and chocolate milk.

Adam McDowell’s book “Drinks: A User’s Guide” offers ways to enjoy a variety of cocktails when faced with less-than-ideal circumstances. He calls such drinks “ad-hoctails” and describes them as containing two or three easy-to-obtain ingredients that can be combined to create an acceptable drink when needed.

Need an example? See McDowell’s Off-White Russian No. 1. It’s a variation on the classic White Russian that merges vodka with the school-days classic, a carton of chocolate milk. It’s not fancy or nuanced, but it is easy, quick and tastes good, so it still brings plenty to the table.

“Though it may lack in the areas of flavor balance and sophistication, the ad-hoctail more than makes up for its deficiencies by offering convenience, ingenuity and sheer mixological moxie,” says McDowell. “It’s simplicity embraced with gusto. It’s the meeting place between thirst and a shrug.”

Rather than breaking out the bar tools for this vodka-laced drink, you can add the spirit directly into the carton and shake. This method combines your ingredients while reducing your need for a separate shaker or strainer. Serve with a straw, and it’s just like you’re back in elementary school—except, you know, with vodka.


  • 1 ounce vodka

  • 8-ounce chocolate milk carton

  • Garnish: straw


  1. Pour the vodka into the chocolate milk carton, close the spout, and shake carefully to combine.

  2. Drink through a straw, if available.