A Black Russian is an unlikely but thoroughly satisfying blend of vodka and Kahlúa coffee liqueur. This cocktail was created by the barman Gustave Tops, who worked at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels around 1950. He used to make this cocktail for the American ambassador Pearl Mesta, and he probably had no idea that the Black Russian would become a perennial favorite. It goes without saying that any cocktail with “Russian” in its name has vodka as a primary component.

If there is one drink that practically every bartender in the world knows, it is the Black Russian. Short of pouring equal shots of vodka and Kahlúa and drinking them, the Black Russian is one of the easiest drinks to mix at home. If you want to make a it a bit more complicated, try making our Kahlúa-inspired Homemade Coffee Liqueur recipe to use in this and other cocktails, not to mention in desserts like our Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream recipe and our White Russian Rice Cereal Treats recipe.

White and Black Russians are among the few drinks that benefit from the ice melting in them, so serve either in a nice, hefty old-fashioned glass.

  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: Under 5 mins 
  • Active: Under 5 mins

Ingredients (2)

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Kahlúa


  1. Pour both ingredients over ice in a chilled old-fashioned glass.