Black Russian Recipe

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Cocktail Type


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Close-up of Black Russian Cocktail on the rocks

Say hello to one of the simplest winter vodka cocktails you’ll ever mix up! With just two ingredients, the Black Russian recipe couldn’t get easier. And sometimes easy is exactly what you need when you’re hosting a crowd.  

The first Black Russian was poured back in the late 1940s in Brussels and nowhere near Russia. So, when it comes to its name, our best guess is that the ‘black’ refers to the color of the coffee liqueur, and ‘Russia’ comes from the country’s love of vodka.   



If you want a slightly sweeter drink, add more coffee liqueur. If you want it stronger (or weaker), add more (or less) vodka.


For a more pronounced taste, use one large ice cube per cocktail.


For icy cold Black Russian cocktails, pop the glasses into the freezer and pre-chill them for about 30 minutes.



1 Person

1 Oz

30 Ml

1 Parts

Coffee liqueur
2 Oz

60 Ml

2 Parts




Pour the coffee liqueur over ice in an old fashioned glass 


Stir until icy cold (around 30 seconds) 



Black Russian Cocktail recipe insights

While this winter cocktail isn’t as popular as the White Russian, it totally deserves to be. Made with just vodka and coffee liqueur, this dark cocktail is surprisingly flavorsome — especially if sweetened cold coffee is your vibe.

This two-part Black Russian recipe can be whipped up in seconds, but that doesn’t mean you can take a shortcut with the ingredients. Always use premium quality liquor for the best result. Your cocktail will only be as good as the sum of its parts.  

For the coffee liqueur, we suggest finding one with full-body flavor and vanilla caramel notes to give this cocktail an indulgent edge. When it comes to vodka, you want a spirit that is smooth and soft and won’t overpower the coffee taste. That’s why the best vodka for a Black Russian is SKYY Vodka.   

More coffee cocktails >> 9 Best Coffee Cocktails to End Your Evening with a Kick

Make This Cocktail Your Own

Since the 40s, it’s safe to say that the Black Russian recipe has been around the block a few times, so it makes sense that it comes with a few varieties you can try. The simplicity of the coffee liqueur and vodka creates a decent foundation to add more flavors and combinations. So have some fun and experiment! 

  • The White Russian: This is the most obvious spin-off of the Black Russian, and you make it by simply adding a dash of heavy cream to the vodka and coffee liqueur.  
  • The Dirty Black Russian: This is a Black Russian that gets served in a highball glass and topped with cola. 
  • The Mudslide: Add Baileys Irish cream and heavy cream for absolute indulgence.  
  • The Irish Russian: Yes, it’s a thing! Top your Black Russian with Guinness or other stout beer – ideal for beer cocktail enthusiasts. 
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That depends! How long does it take you to pour liquor over ice and stir it? The Black Russian recipe is one of the fastest and tastiest drinks out there —and you can pull it off in under 30 seconds (or less if you have a bottle in each hand). 

The best black Russian should taste like cold, sweetened boozy black coffee, with hints of caramel and vanilla. 

While the White Russian is made with the same ingredients, it gets a dash of heavy cream and a cherry if you feel fancy. 

It’s ‘black’ for the color of the coffee liqueur and ‘Russian’ for the use of vodka.