Black Russian Cocktail Recipe

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Black Russian Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


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. The name 'Black Russian' is derived from the use of vodka, a popular Russian spirit, and the dark color of the coffee liqueur.

  • The Black Russian quickly gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • It is considered a classic cocktail and is often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink.

How Black Russian Tastes?

The Black Russian has a rich, velvety taste with a slightly sweet and bitter flavor. The combination of vodka and coffee liqueur creates a smooth, strong, and bold cocktail.

Interesting facts about Black Russian

  • The Black Russian is the base for other popular cocktails like the White Russian and the Colorado Bulldog.
  • The cocktail is traditionally served without ice, but it can also be served on the rocks for a more refreshing experience.
  • The Black Russian is sometimes garnished with a cherry or a lemon twist for added visual appeal and a hint of citrus flavor.


A few good options for Black Russian are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


  • Why 50ml?
    • The vodka is the backbone of this drink, providing a clean, neutral spirit that lets the coffee liqueur shine. Too much vodka and you'd overpower the subtle coffee notes; too little and the drink loses its kick.
  • Flavor enhancer
    • Vodka offers a warmth that spreads through the drink, giving a pleasant heat that coffee lovers will find familiar.

Alex Green

Coffee Liqueur

  • Why 20ml?
    • It's the perfect amount to impart a rich coffee flavor without making the drink too sweet or syrupy. This isn't a dessert; it's a cocktail with a hint of indulgence.
  • Flavor
    • Adds a deep, almost chocolatey coffee flavor that rounds out the vodka's sharpness. Without it, you'd just have chilled vodka鈥攄efinitely not as fun.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Black Russian Drink

  1. Chill a rocks or old-fashioned glass by filling it with ice and water. Set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Measure 50ml of vodka and 20ml of coffee liqueur.
  3. Empty the chilled glass and add the vodka and coffee liqueur.
  4. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.
  5. Optional: Add ice cubes if desired.
  6. Garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist, if desired.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality vodka for a smoother taste.
  • Chill the glass before serving to enhance the flavor.
  • Stir gently to avoid diluting the cocktail too much.

Perfect Pairings

Savory Snacks

  • Smoked nuts - The smokiness complements the rich coffee flavor of the liqueur.
  • Cheese platter - Try a mix of aged cheddar, gouda, and blue cheese to stand up against the strong flavors of the cocktail.

Sweet Treats

  • Chocolate desserts - Dark chocolate especially pairs well, echoing the coffee notes in the liqueur.
  • Tiramisu - Coffee's best dessert friend; the flavors will dance together beautifully.


  • A medium-bodied cigar can enhance the coffee notes and provide a relaxing pairing for a slow sipping experience.

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What you could change in Black Russian

  • Vodka: You can substitute with any other clear spirit, like gin or tequila.
  • Coffee Liqueur: You can substitute with a homemade coffee syrup or a non-alcoholic coffee extract.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists馃嵐

Espresso Russian

  • Ingredients: 50ml vodka, 20ml coffee liqueur, 10ml fresh espresso
  • Recipe: Prepare as usual, then float the fresh espresso on top. Stir before drinking.
  • Taste Difference: A kick of real coffee intensifies the cocktail, making it a pick-me-up with a punch.

White Russian

  • Ingredients: 50ml vodka, 20ml coffee liqueur, 20ml heavy cream
  • Recipe: Add the cream on top of the liqueur and vodka. Gently stir to create a silky texture.
  • Taste Difference: Transforming the drink into a creamy delight, this is for those who like their coffee with a milkier side.

Nutty Russian

  • Ingredients: 45ml vodka, 20ml coffee liqueur, 5ml hazelnut liqueur
  • Recipe: Mix all ingredients and stir over ice. This adds a nutty layer to the flavor profile.
  • Taste Difference: The hazelnut liqueur introduces a sweet, woody undertone that plays well with the bold coffee notes.

In case you forgot basics how to make Black Russian

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Black Russian

What are some variations of the Black Russian cocktail?

Some variations of the Black Russian cocktail include the Belgian Black Russian, which adds creme de cacao and cream, and the Brave Bull, which uses tequila instead of vodka.

What type of coffee liqueur is best to use in a Black Russian?

Kahlua is a well-known brand of coffee liqueur that works well in a Black Russian. However, Tia Maria is another excellent option.

Are there any non-alcoholic versions of the Black Russian?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version of the Black Russian can be made using coffee syrup and a non-alcoholic vodka substitute.

What is the food pairing for Black Russian cocktail?

Given its rich and bitter taste, the Black Russian pairs well with desserts, particularly those with chocolate or coffee flavors.

What is the correct way to measure the ingredients for a cocktail?

Cocktail ingredients are typically measured in milliliters or fluid ounces using a jigger, a measuring tool specifically designed for cocktails.

Is Black Russian served at room temperature or chilled?

While the traditional serving of Black Russian is without ice, many prefer it chilled or on the rocks for a more refreshing experience.

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