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Black Russian

The Black Russian is a simple yet delicious cocktail that’s perfect for any occasion. This classic drink is made with just two ingredients – vodka and coffee liqueur – and is served over ice in a rocks glass. The result is a smooth, flavorful cocktail that’s sure to please.

Black Russian Cocktail with Vodka and Coffee Liquor

While the original recipe calls for just vodka and coffee liqueur, there are many variations that incorporate other ingredients such as cola or cherry syrup to add different flavors and textures. Whether you’re a fan of strong coffee flavor or prefer a sweeter, fruitier taste, there’s a Black Russian recipe out there that’s sure to suit your palate. So why not mix up a batch of this classic cocktail and enjoy it with friends or family? It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day or celebrate a special occasion.


The Black Russian cocktail is a classic drink that has been enjoyed for decades. It first appeared in 1949 and is attributed to Gustave Tops, a Belgian bartender who created it at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. He made it in honor of Perle Mesta, who was then the United States Ambassador to Luxembourg.


The drink owes its name to the use of vodka, a typical Russian spirit, and the blackness of the coffee liqueur. During the Cold War, the Black Russian became a popular drink in the United States. It was often served at diplomatic events and was a favorite of many American ambassadors. The drink’s popularity continued to grow, and it soon became a staple in bars and restaurants around the world.

Gustave Tops, the creator of the Black Russian, was a talented bartender who was known for his innovative cocktails. He worked at the Hotel Metropole for many years and was considered one of the best bartenders in Europe. His creation of the Black Russian helped to cement his reputation as a master mixologist.

Today, the Black Russian remains a popular drink among cocktail enthusiasts. It is a simple yet delicious drink that is easy to make. All you need is vodka, coffee liqueur, and ice. The drink is typically served in an old fashioned glass filled with ice cubes and stirred gently. It is often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, but there is nothing stopping you from drinking it any time.

How to Make It

Black Russian Cocktail with Vodka and Coffee Liquor

Black Russian

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

One of the best things about this cocktail is that it's so simple to make, and you won't need to shop around for any exotic ingredients or spend too much time on the preparation, either.

The ingredients below will make enough to fill an old-fashioned glass, but you can adjust the amounts to suit other receptacles.


  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
  • Ice cubes


    1. Place the ice cubes into your old-fashioned glass 
    2. Pour the vodka and liqueur into a separate mixing glass
    3. Stir the mixture together before pouring over the ice

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How To Drink It

There are no strict rules when it comes to how you drink and enjoy cocktails, but this one tends to be best suited for evening drinking. It’s the sort of cocktail that people like to sip slowly, savoring the depth of the flavors and really feeling the intensity of the coffee and the smoothness of the vodka, and it’s a nice choice to relax with after a meal. In terms of taste, this cocktail is dominated by the coffee flavor, but it all depends on how you measure out the ingredients. You can add more Kahlua (or other coffee liqueurs) to get a sweeter flavor or use additional vodka to get a dryer and stronger flavor.


If you’re looking to switch things up and try something new, there are plenty of variations on the classic Black Russian recipe to explore. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

White Russian

One popular variation on the Black Russian is the White Russian. To make this creamy and decadent cocktail, simply add a splash of cream or milk to your Black Russian. This will give the drink a smooth and velvety texture, and make it a bit more indulgent.

Bartender finishing a White Russian cocktail


If you’re in the mood for a dessert-like cocktail, consider making a Mudslide. This variation on the Black Russian adds a few extra ingredients to the mix, including chocolate syrup and heavy cream. The result is a rich and decadent drink that’s perfect for sipping after dinner.

Espresso Martini

For a more sophisticated take on the Black Russian, try making an Espresso Martini. This cocktail combines vodka, coffee liqueur, and fresh espresso for a bold and complex flavor. Garnish with an orange slice or a few drops of orange bitters to add a citrusy twist.

espresso martini cocktail

Walnut Russian

If you’re a fan of nutty flavors, you might enjoy a Walnut Russian. This variation on the Black Russian adds a splash of walnut liqueur, such as Nocello, to the mix. The result is a rich and flavorful cocktail that’s perfect for sipping on a chilly evening.

Chilled Black Russian

While the classic Black Russian is typically served over ice, you can also make a chilled version of the cocktail by shaking the ingredients with ice and straining into a chilled glass. This will give the drink a smoother texture and a slightly different flavor profile. Overall, there are many ways to customize the classic Black Russian recipe to suit your tastes. Whether you prefer a creamy and indulgent cocktail or a bold and complex flavor profile, there’s a variation out there that’s sure to please.

What’s the recipe for a classic Black Russian cocktail?

To make a classic Black Russian cocktail, all you need is vodka and coffee liqueur. Pour 2 ounces of vodka over ice in an old-fashioned glass and then add 1 ounce of coffee liqueur. Stir until well chilled and serve. You can adjust the amount of each ingredient to your liking.

What’s the difference between a Black Russian and a White Russian?

The main difference between a Black Russian and a White Russian is that a White Russian contains cream or milk. To make a White Russian, simply add 1 ounce of cream or milk to the classic Black Russian recipe.

How do you make a hot Black Russian?

To make a hot Black Russian, simply heat up the coffee liqueur and vodka in a saucepan over low heat. Once it’s heated through, pour it into a mug and enjoy.

What’s the history behind the Black Russian cocktail?

The Black Russian cocktail was created in 1949 by Gustave Tops, a Belgian bartender at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. He crafted this drink in honor of Perle Mesta, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg at the time.

What are some variations of the Black Russian cocktail?

There are many variations of the Black Russian cocktail. Some popular ones include adding a splash of soda water or cola to the classic recipe, using different types of liqueurs like amaretto or Bailey’s Irish Cream, or garnishing with a lemon twist or coffee beans.

Can you make a Black Russian with Coke instead of soda water?

While it’s not traditional, you can make a Black Russian with Coke instead of soda water. Simply substitute the soda water with Coke and proceed with the classic recipe. Keep in mind that this will alter the taste and texture of the cocktail.

Black Russian
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