Black Russian Romance
When it comes to mixed drinks with vodka, everyone knows about the pure as snow white Russian, but what about the white Russian’s darker twin, the black Russian? Mix drinks with vodka are always a risk; the great ones cover up the harsh alcoholic tang of vodka almost completely, leaving you with a delicious drink that can lay you out like a heavyweight fighter, and the black Russian is no different.
Vodka is an alcohol that goes back literally hundreds of years, but the history of the powerful black Russian is far more recent. This drink, dark, smoky, and electrifying, was first recorded in 1949, when a Belgian named Gustave Tops created it. The black Russian’s home is not, as the name implies, in the snowy streets of Moscow or St. Petersburg, but instead in Brussels. Tops mixed this iconic drink at the Hotel Metropole, celebrating the achievements of Perle Mesta. Mesta, at the time, was the United States’ ambassador to Luxembourg.
From there, black Russians have held an unshakable place in the bartender’s repertoire, and whether you are interested in mixology or you are simply curious about the provenance of your favorite drink, it is not a difficult one to make yourself.
However, it is also worth mentioning that the creation of a black Russian is something of a fine art. Balancing the flavors of the vodka and the coffee liqueur requires a steady hand, and when mixed correctly, the result is a drink that has a dark edge and a surprisingly smooth finish. On the other hand, if you mix the drink incorrectly, you will find yourself with a drink that is surprisingly dull for all of the powerful ingredients that you use in it.
The black Russian ingredients are simple, and though you may wonder what to mix with vodka, the answer may surprise you. When you want to mix this dark drink and you want to do it well, make sure that you pay close attention to the instructions below.
¾ ounce coffee liqueur
1 ½ ounces vodka
Start by throwing as many ice cubes as will fit into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Move quickly; do not allow the ice cubes to sit for long at all.
Splash the vodka over the ice.
Add the coffee liqueur
Stir by dropping a stirring spoon straight into the drink and twirling the shaft of the spoon between your fingers for at least 25 seconds.
There are regular debates on what alcohol to use with your black Russian. For the best results, you can choose just about any unflavored vodka, but you should be choosy about your coffee liqueurs. For example, Kahlua will give you some very stable, very traditional results, but some other options are available as well. Café Rica and Café Aztec provide you with a delicious drink, while Tia Maria produces a fantastic black Russian that could melt hearts.
Once you have mastered the basic black Russian, you will find that there are plenty of variations for you to enjoy as well. If you are someone who loves the idea of a fresh twist on this classic, consider making a Black Magic, which involves adding a dash of lemon juice at the end and serving with a lemon slice.
For a Brown Russian, mix the drink in a highball glass, then top it off with about a finger’s worth of ginger ale.
When you are someone with a taste for beautiful mixed drinks, do not leave the black Russian out of your repertoire. This classic is a must-have and a must-drink!
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