The Black Velvet Cocktail is a fun drink that would fit in on Super Bowl Sunday or as a classy option for Saint Patrick’s Day. Made with the unlikely combination of Guinness beer and champagne, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the rich and bubbly flavors!
Guinness beer and champagne: a surprisingly delicious combination
When the thought of a dark, robust Guinness beer pops into your head, maybe you have visions of Ireland or a trip to the pub. You’d probably never think to serve the beer with champagne! Until now, that is.
This Black Velvet Cocktail is a bubbly vintage cocktail with a very interesting combination: Guinness beer and champagne. I just knew I had to try it when I first discovered the recipe in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book. I didn’t think I would like the pairing at first but was pleasantly surprised!
The true charm of a black velvet drink comes from the two-layered look. Using the floating technique, you’ll end up with an impressive fizzy-on-top and black-on-the-bottom presentation. This feature, along with the pleasant flavors and rich and creamy texture, are sure to have you and guests swapping the typical pint of beer or glass of champagne for this delicious concoction instead!
Black velvet cocktail history
The black velvet cocktail was first invented by a steward at the Brook’s Club in London the day after Prince Albert’s passing. After the Prince died from typhoid fever on December 14, 1861, the steward ordered the bartenders to mix Guinness beer with champagne because “even the champagne should be put into mourning”. The black cocktail was meant to mimic the dark clothing people were wearing in mourning.
Although this morbid invention has been around since the 1800s, the first written record of the recipe was found in Craddock’s book. Craddock doesn’t actually say anything about keeping the layers of stout and champagne separate, but it’s very much implied. Therefore, if you’re going to serve this cocktail for a less-morbid occasion, you may as well make it fancy!
Ingredients you need
The recipe is super simple: one part stout and one part champagne are poured very carefully into champagne flutes. Even though you only need two ingredients, there are a few substitutions available:
Guinness beer is a stout beer with a creamy, rich, and heavy taste and texture. It’s the most popular choice when making this recipe but you can use any other stout beer you’re a fan of.
True champagne (from the Champagne region of France) is very pricey! You’re better off saving a few pennies and making this cocktail with sparkling wine instead, like prosecco or brut.
How to layer a black velvet cocktail
If you’re careful enough while pouring this cocktail, you’ll end up with beautiful layers: a dark black base, fizzy sparkling wine, and a foamy head on top. How impressive! You can master the floating technique on your own using a few simple tips and some practice:
- Fill the champagne flutes halfway with beer.
- Place a spoon rounded side facing up into the champagne flute, hovering just above the stout.
- Slowly pour the champagne over the back of the spoon and into the glass.
- The champagne should float on top of the stout, creating a layered drink.
Tips to make the best Guinness cocktail
While this 2-ingredient cocktail is simple and easy to make, there are a few tips you should know about to make it even better:
Turn it into a snack
Nope, I’m not kidding. Transform this bubbly stout beer cocktail into a float by pouring the two ingredients over a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a glass. It’s a sweet and boozy snack your adult friends are sure to love!
Do I have to use champagne in this beer cocktail?
Nope! Any kind of sparkling wine you like can be used. If you don’t have sparkling wine, you can use hard cider or non-alcoholic sparkling white grape juice instead.
Can I make this cocktail ahead of time?
I don’t recommend it. Instead, just keep the beer and champagne in the fridge until it’s time to serve so the cocktails are nice and cold.
- 2 12-ounce bottles stout
- 1 740-milliliter bottle of champagne or sparkling wine
- Fill six champagne flutes halfway with stout.
- Place a spoon into the champagne flute, without touching the stout, with the rounded side facing up.
- Slowly pour the champagne onto the back of the spoon and into the champagne flute. The champagne should float on top of the stout creating a layered drink.
- Repeat with the remaining champagne.