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Black Russian Drink Recipes

Kathleen Esposito
Black Russian

The Black Russian drink is a true classic that both men and women can enjoy. It was officially introduced in 1949 when Gustave Tops mixed it up in Brussels, Belgium, at the Hotel Metropole. Although Belgian in origin, the drink is called a Russian because its main ingredient is vodka, which is a hard spirit closely associated with that country. The other ingredient you traditionally add is a Mexican coffee liqueur called Kahlua.

Recipes for Black Russians

The basic way to make a Black Russian is simply to fill a rocks glass with cubed ice, pour in three ounces of vodka and then add two ounces of Kahlua. The result is a drink that is rather strong but doesn't taste too heavy.

It's important to stir your drink after you mix it so that the Kahlua doesn't just sit on top. You'll know it's ready when it has a deep black color to it that is uniform throughout the glass. That's the other reason why this drink got its name. Once you've mastered the basic Black Russian, you can mix up one or more of these variations:

Black Magic

This drink gives the black Russian a little extra tartness. To make it, simply follow the original recipe and add a half teaspoon of lemon or lime juice. Add a citrus twist as garnish.

Smooth Black Russian

To make this drink, substitute the rocks glass for a highball glass. Once you've mixed the basic Black Russian recipe, top the rest of the glass with Guinness. Try to pour the beer at an angle so that it pours a good head.

Brown Russian

Try this variation if you want your drink to go down easier and have a much lighter color. Again, use a highball glass, and top the glass with ginger ale.

White Russian

The most popular variation on the Black Russian drink, the white Russian goes back to the rocks glass. All you have to do is follow the basic recipe and pour an ounce of cream on top. You can either choose to stir or not stir. It will not affect the flavor very much.


If you don't have any Kahlua on hand, you can instead use any other coffee liqueur. Some types that will work include Kamora, Patron Coffee Liqueur and Copa de Oro. Keep in mind that all of these alcohols will taste slightly different from Kahlua, so you may find yourself wanting to add more or less.

You can also experiment with different liqueurs, such as those with chocolate, almond or even hazelnut flavors. Be sure to check the alcohol content in each of these beverages because it's easy to make your black Russian too strong.

When to Drink

This beverage is typically popular during the winter months because it can be a bit heavy, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it any time of year. Most any bar will have the ingredients on hand and you will have no trouble purchasing them at pretty much any place that sells alcohol. One bottle of Kahlua and one bottle of vodka will allow you to make numerous drinks in no time at all. This makes it a good choice for a party or another type of get together.

Black Russian Drink Recipes