Classic Black Russian Cocktail Recipe

If you haven't tried a Black Russian cocktail before, you'll want to give this recipe a go. The Black Russian is an elegant cocktail recipe that was made for coffee lovers of the world, as the dominant taste of this drink is coffee. This flavor is provided by the liqueur Kahlúa, which, paired with vodka, gives this cocktail quite the kick. Don't let that frighten you off though, it is also silky smooth as well as being utterly delicious, and, best of all, it is super easy to assemble.

Simplicity is key with this classy and classic cocktail; there is no need for a cocktail shaker or a blender here. Vodka and Kalhúa are poured over ice and gently stirred, and then the drink is finished off with a maraschino cherry garnish. It's a great cocktail to add to your repertoire and will impress even the most choosy guests, especially when offered as an after-dinner cocktail.

The easiest way to remember this cocktail recipe is that it is made up using one part Kahlúa to two parts vodka; that's it! So, if you are fanatic about iced coffee, try this alcoholic adult equivalent designed by recipe developer Jennine Rye next time you fancy a cocktail.

Gather the ingredients for this Black Russian cocktail

This recipe only requires three ingredients which you may already have at home if you enjoy making cocktails. You will need Russian vodka, Kahlúa, and maraschino cherries. You will additionally want ice cubes to finish off the drink, and cocktail skewers if you want to impress your guests with an elegant garnish.

While Kahlúa is the most well-known brand of coffee liqueur, this drink will work just as well with any other brands if you already have those at home. And, if you can't find any, you could even have a go at making your own coffee liqueur using brandy, coffee beans, and sugar.

Select your glass

To make this cocktail you will want to use an old fashioned glass or a rocks glass. You may not think it, but the shape of the cocktail glass you use to drink from can make a huge difference to the overall enjoyment of your drinking experience. When preparing cocktails it's always good to consider the type of glass used to serve your drink, to make sure that it brings out the best qualities of that specific beverage.

Once you have selected your glass, you will want to add ice cubes. Rye recommends filling the glass about halfway with ice cubes for this drink, to properly chill the cocktail without diluting it too much.

Make the cocktail

Then, to make this Black Russian cocktail, you will want to measure out the vodka and pour this over the ice, and follow that by pouring over the Kahlúa. The easiest way to measure out the liquids is by using a shot glass; one shot of vodka and half a shot of Kahlúa. Give the drink a gentle stir, using a cocktail muddler or just a simple teaspoon, to mix the two liquids together, and your Black Russian is almost complete.

Garnish the Black Russian cocktail

Finish off your Black Russian cocktail with a maraschino cherry garnish, by sliding three maraschino cherries onto a cocktail stick or skewer, and then placing them into the glass. If you don't have any cocktail sticks you can also simply place the cherries into the drink itself before serving.

There are many great variations and twists on the classic Black Russian cocktail that you can try. Perhaps the most well known of these is the White Russian, a drink made famous by The Big Lebowski. For this, you will simply need to add a dash of heavy cream to the Black Russian, which almost makes this cocktail a delicious dessert in its own right. If you prefer to keep things black but don't enjoy drinking your alcohol neat, Coca-Cola can be added to the Black Russian as a mixer to dilute the liqueur and add a little more sweetness and complexity. However you choose to enjoy your Black Russian, don't forget to drink safely! 

Classic Black Russian Cocktail Recipe
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Try out this simple and classy cocktail that works as an after-dinner drink with coffee liqueur, vodka, and a maraschino cherry garnish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Black Russian cocktail
Total time: 2 minutes
  • 1.5 ounces Vodka
  • 0.75 ounces Kahlúa
  • 3 maraschino cherries
  1. Add a handful of ice to an old fashioned or rocks glass.
  2. Pour the vodka and the Kahlúa over the ice and stir the drink to combine the liquids.
  3. Finish by skewering the maraschino cherries onto a cocktail stick, or simply placing them into the glass.
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