black velvet cocktail drink

The Black Velvet Drink

By Sina / Last updated on May 30, 2022 
The Black Velvet drink is the unexpected yet fabulous combination of Irish Stout with Champagne. First created to dress champagne black for a funeral, it soon became a popular drink for all kinds of occasions, especially St. Patrick's Day.

The Black Velvet Drink combines two alcoholic beverages you probably would not pair intuitively: Irish Stout, most often Guinness, and Champagne. When I first heard about it, I was highly doubtful that this could lead to anything even remotely enjoyable. Not least because I certainly love a glass of good Champagne, but I'm not such a big fan of Stout. It's alright in an Irish pub, but frankly, that is already where my enthusiasm for the dark beer ends.

Nonetheless, I have to admit, the idea of beer and Champagne seemed intriguing. And surprisingly, I found it quite agreeable. So, even if you're not the Stout type - or not the Champagne type perhaps- give the Black Velvet drink a shot next St. Patricks Day. It might surprise you, as well.

Origin of the Black Velvet Drink

As I said, mixing Stout and Champagne is not exactly what I would call the obvious choice. So who thought of combining those two and why? Well, the answer is as simple as it is genius - even though the occasion was not a happy one.

Allegedly, the first time Black Velvet Drinks got served was at Brook's Club in London to honor Prince Albert after his passing in 1861. The steward there thought that the funeral of Queen Victoria's husband should be treated with the utmost respect and, therefore, also the Champagne should be somber and grieving. And so he mixed the sparkling wine with Guinness to give it a more mournful appearance.

Serving the drink in Champagne flutes and naming it Black Velvet Cocktail ensured that it would still radiate the decadence appropriate for the occasion. Last year marked the 160th anniversary of Prince Albert's death and funeral, and the Stout-Champagne mix is as popular as never before. And because the Stout of choice usually is Guinness, the Black Velvet drink more and more got associated with Ireland instead of London. Until in recent years, it ended up being a popular drink for St. Patrick's along with the Green Tea Shot and others -Not the worst career, I'd say.

How to make Black Velvet Drinks

There are two ways how to make the Black Velvet Beer Cocktail. One is to fill a Champagne flute half the way with Stout and then top it up with Champagne. Both components will mix together beautifully and create a silky, dark-colored, velvety, and sparkling cocktail. That's the traditional way to do it, because, remember, the Stout was meant to dress the bubbly black.

And then, you can also aim for a layered version of the Black Velvet. For that, you start with filling your glass halfway with Champagne first. In a second step, you float the Stout on top. The slightly different density of both liquids causes the beer to stay on top for most parts. But despite the layered version may look a little more impressive, I prefer the original version because I find it tastes better.

How does the Black Velvet Beer Cocktail taste?

Mixing Stout with Champagne creates a lightly sparkling yet smooth and creamy texture that makes for a luxurious, crisp mouthfeel. The taste is rich, slightly fruity, and the Guinness brings a subtle chocolate-caramelly sweetness. The carbonation is just enough to cut through the full-bodied, malty Stout, giving the Black Velvet drink a refreshing and lively touch.

What Champagne to use in a Black Velvet Drink?
The original version of the Black Velvet Cocktail featured Champagne, as one would expect when creating a drink in honor of a Prince. And there's also a more practical reason: In 1861, there was simply no other sparkling wine available.

A situation that certainly is different today. And, basically, you can go with any sort of bubbly from Cava to Prosecco to Champagne as long as it is not too sweet. It should say either "brut" or "extra dry" on the label.

For most, mixing an expensive, lavish ingredient like Champagne with something as powerful as a Stout beer might seem outrageous. And I cannot argue with that because I feel the same. Therefore, I recommend a dry Spanish Cava like Freixenet or Campo Viejo. -If you like your drink with a little less carbonation, you can go with Prosecco - for instance, Mionetto or Scavi & Ray.

black velvet cocktail drink

Black Velvet Drink

An unexpected but tasty and silky-smooth pairing of Stout beer and Champagne.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Beer, Champagne, Guinness, Prosecco
Servings: 1
Calories: 140kcal
Cost: $2.70

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Guinness
  • 4 oz Sparkling wine

Instructions

  • Fill a Champagne flute halfway with ice-cold Guinness and let it settle for a few seconds.
  • Then carefully top it up with equally chilled Champagne. You can also use a bar spoon and pour the sparkly over it. That will reduce the potential risk of foaming up and overflowing. Cheers!

Nutrition

Serving: 8oz | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Potassium: 280mg | Sugar: 24.8g | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The classic approach of a Black Velvet drink always is 1:1, but of course, you can always adjust ratios to your own liking. For instance, some prefer a more Champagne-forward version and make the mix 2:1. For my part, despite not being Stout-person, I find the 1:1 version very pleasant, though.

More Beer cocktails

If you love beer and are looking for new ways to enjoy it, there are a few beer cocktails you could try. Have you ever tried a Boilermaker? If not, give this combination of Beer and Whiskey a try and find your perfect Boilermaker pairing.

Another refreshing beer cocktail is jelly beer. This is a frozen beer drink often flavored with fresh lime juice and a bit of simple syrup. A perfect summer drink with a slush-like consistency.

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