Black Russian Vodka and Coffee Cocktail

Black Russian recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
98 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 98
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 0mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When it comes to simple and satisfying cocktails, few can beat the black Russian. This popular lowball is enjoyed worldwide and the combination of vodka with a coffee liqueur creates a pleasant and irresistible drink.

The black Russian is so well-known that it should be among the first cocktails that every aspiring bartender commits to memory. While you're at it, be sure to learn how to make the white Russian as well.

There is not much to the black Russian recipe and it's on of those incredibly easy drinks that anyone can mix up. You will simply pour your favorite vodka and coffee liqueur (typically Kahlua) over ice, stir, and serve. Despite its simplicity, there are a few things that you can do to enhance the black Russian.


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3/4 ounce coffee liqueur
  • Optional: maraschino cherries

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Black Russian recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Build the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.

    Black Russian recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Stir well.

    Black Russian recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Garnish with cherries, if using.

    Black Russian recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

Quite often, vodka drinkers shy away from using flavored vodkas in drinks with darker profiles. Sure, it's easy to add a fruity vodka to drinks like the madras or cosmopolitan, but when it comes to those of the black Russian variety, the choices seem limited. 

This is not entirely true, you just have to be more selective and creative in the vodka you pour:

  • Coffee Vodka: Play up the coffee flavor by pouring Three Olives Triple Shot Espresso. It adds a fantastic kick.
  • Chocolate Vodka: Go for a slightly sweeter black Russian and pour the likes of Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate. It is as tempting and delicious as it sounds.
  • Cake Vodka: If you love the new flavors of dessert vodkas and can't wait until the next one comes out, toss them into your black Russian. They're actually a great match.
  • Two-Flavored Vodka: A few vodka brands specialize in combining two or more flavors and these are perfect for this drink.
  • Beyond these suggestions, think of flavors that you might enjoy adding to your morning coffee. It's more than likely that there's a flavored vodka to match and, if not, you can always infuse it yourself.

How Strong Is the Black Russian?

Two-ingredient, liquor-only drinks are not weak. Think of the black Russian like a scotch on the rocks: a flavorful drink to be enjoyed slowly, sip by sip.

If you make the black Russian with an 80-proof vodka and 40-proof coffee liqueur using the recipe above, it would be about 27 percent ABV (54 proof). It's smoother than a straight shot of vodka, yet retains that full flavor of its ingredients.