Use Cocktail Skewers To Give Your Black Russian An Elegant Look

Cocktail garnishes are much more than a last-minute twist to a drink. Such components are oftentimes cornerstone ingredients themselves. What's a negroni without an orange twist or a mai tai without a sprig of mint? Make a Black Russian special by adding a cherry on top — whether it's in maraschino or fresh berry form. 

When paired with the vodka and Kahlúa, that hint of fruitiness rounds out the boozy, sweet, and bitter flavors. While it's perfectly acceptable to simply drop them into the glass, the cherries can also be threaded onto a skewer for an elevated take. Use a metal cocktail skewer to boost the sleekness, playing off of the drink's darkly colored palate. And to accentuate the garnish's flavor, opt for Luxardo maraschino cherries. These darker-colored varieties have a more complex flavor, with notes of bitter nuts and fresh fruit. And by simply altering the Black Russian's garnish, the entire sling gets a refreshed, elegant look. 

How to craft new versions of a Black Russian

Even if they only involve a few components, cocktails are ripe for experimentation, and small tweaks result in a big impact. The drink's core components are as simple as they come — simply a two-to-one ratio of vodka to Kahlúa, but there are other riffs to play off of, too.

Some turn the drink long by adding some cold soda to the top. This integrates a tinge of sweetness and a carbonated element. Or, for a tangier rendition, add a bit of lemon juice along with a citrus peel twist. Giving the peeled lemon a squeeze releases some of the fruit's oils, which adds further complexity to the cocktail. Want to lean even further into the lavish side? Add some dehydrated orange slices and varying amaros (or even bitters). The Black Russian's two components can become a foundation for a much more complicated — and head-turning — drink.