Home Stretch: White Russian and “Cosmos Factory” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

By Dave Pezza

Good golly Miss Molly do we have a line-up for the Home Stretch faithful this week. We are sharing one of my favorite, simple cocktails, and one of my all-time favorite albums: the White Russian and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Cosmos Factory.” Loosen up that tie, kick off those heels, fire up the turntable, and mosey on over to the bar. Get ready to cut the rug that really brings the room together because it’s time for the Home Stretch.

Creedence Clearwater Revival has a plethora of great albums, hits, and B-sides, but “Cosmos Factory” is the end-all be-all of CCR recordings. In a simple 42-minute span “Cosmos Factory” brings you legends like “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Run Through The Jungle” (featured in every Vietnam movie ever made), “Up Around The Bend,” and “Heard It Through The Grapevine.” And this is leaving out the deep cuts! The casual, lounging, Californian vibe of CCR will most assuredly put you into better mood after that god-awful day known as hump day.

I doubt I’ll have to say more about one of the greatest rock bands in recorded history. And for those who haven’t heard CCR before, well, that I cannot abide. “Cosmos Factory,” the band’s fifth album, contains a near perfect mixture of classic rock tempo and acoustics with a crawling swamp and southern rock drawl with an attitude that will make you glad you have an ice cold beverage in hand. And that cold beverage has been, I might add, expertly selected by yours truly.

The White Russian, or Caucasian, fits exceptional well with this album for many reasons. The most important might be that it is tasty, ice cold, and disappears like a briefcase full of money in the backseat of your car. The Caucasian is not as heavy as it appears, and, despite its use of cream, makes for a very enjoyable cocktail after a long, hot summer workday.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • Milk or cream
  • Ice
  • Rocks glass

Oh so cleverly named, along with its twin the Black Russian, because of its use of vodka and cream, this cocktail is dangerously simple and offers a wealth of flavor and pungency that might make you feel a little bit out of your element.

1 oz. Kahlua/“Ramble Tamble”

“Ramble Tamble” is a seven-minute, eleven-second show stopper that incorporates the band’s nuanced sounds in an expertly crafted leadoff tune. It starts off with a quick and catchy beat, a crisp Southern guitar loop, and John Fogarty’s signature vocals. The tempo is upbeat and jolly but tapers off two minutes in and leads you into a blues-infused epic of solos and jams. And just when you’ve thought the song has completely had its way with you, it breaks right back into the upbeat, leg-tapping number from the beginning.

I think it would be reasonable to compare Kahlua to “Ramble Tamble.” Both are real ringers. “Ramble Tamble” is a seemingly low-key opener before a wealth of greatest-hits worthy tunes, and Kahlua is a syrupy, sweet coffee liquor that adds a wealth of flavor to the few ingredients piled around it. Grab some ice from the freezer, and fill your rocks glass about half way with ice. Add one ounce or so of Kahlua to your glass. The exact amount here is not as important as keeping the ratio between vodka to Kahlua two to one, otherwise you’ll be over the line as far as sweetness goes once you’ve added your cream.

2 oz. vodka/“Lookin’ Out My Back Door”

How this song does not brighten your evening after a long hard day is baffling. Whether you are grooving while making a beverage at your place or cruising in your car, “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” is sure to crack a smile on that semi-permanent scowl. A short and simple ditty that is pure fun in contrast to the more complex and heavier songs on the album’s backend. Belt that chorus as you splash vodka into the rocks glass, you’ll be really glad you did, “DO DO DO, LOOKIN OUT MY BACK DOOR!”

Vodka is a hell of an alcoholic beverage, so versatile, wearer of so many hats. The vodka in this drink is going to be all but drowned out by the Kahlua and cream. But that’s okay; it adds a nice alcoholic base that cuts some of the sweetness from the aforementioned ingredients. Add double the amount of vodka as Kahlua, but here we’re adding two ounces.

Milk or cream/“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

CCR’s version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is obnoxiously catchy on all levels. The drumbeat, the chorus, the low thick guitar, everything. I also consider this song one of the all-time great summer jams, perhaps because my grandfather never failed to play it at every summer outing or perhaps because “Cosmo’s Factory” was the summer album of 1970, stealing the number one spot on the Billboard 200 for nine weeks straight that year. In any event, it’s not a bad call on this hot summer evening.

Take some cream (milk will do just fine in a pinch) and add a few dashes of it, just enough to change the color of the drink from a thick black syrup to a coffee color and consistency. Take a spoon, and give it a good mix, making that color uniform. There you have it, a White Russian.


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