This Black Velvet Cocktail is a rich, bubbly and fun (but definitely not new) vintage cocktail that would make a great addition to brunch.
Stout rarely calls my name, but when I came across this champagne and stout cocktail in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book, I was intrigued.
Since Craddock’s book is a compilation of recipes, it can be presumed that many of them were enjoyed long before the book was published.
That’s absolutely the case with the Black Velvet Cocktail.
On December 14th, 1861, Prince Consort Albert of England, passed away of typhoid (at least that is what they thought at the time). [note]"Prince Albert Biography." Bio.com. Accessed February 1, 2016. http://www.biography.com/people/prince-albert-20845371#role-as-prince-consort.[/note] Upon hearing the news, the steward of the Brook’s Club in London decided that “even the Champagne should be put into mourning.” [note]"The Black Velvet Cocktail - Lets Get Ready To Scumble." The Black Velvet Cocktail. Accessed February 1, 2016. http://homebars.barinacraft.com/post/19463154451/black-velvet-cocktail-combines-beer-champagne.[/note] So, he added stout to the bubbly beverage in order to darken the color and the Black Velvet was born…at least, that’s how the story goes.
While the Black Velvet may have been created in the 1800’s under morbid pretenses, the first written record of the recipe I found was in Craddock’s book. The recipe is super simple…one part stout, one part champagne, poured very carefully into a long tumbler. Although Craddock doesn’t say anything about keeping the layers of stout and champagne separate, he totally implies it. I mean, why be so careful in your pour if you are gong to mix the two ingredients together.
While this recipe is super easy, the dryness of the champagne and brand of stout will impact the outcome of this cocktail.
True champagne (from the Champagne region) is pricey! It’s way more cost effective to use a sparkling wine, especially since you’ll be mixing it with beer. I used a brut sparkling wine in my Black Velvet Cocktail because, like I’ve said in the past, use what you have on hand, and that’s what I had.
The stout, on the other hand, is not something I keep around. If I do enjoy a stout, I often pick up Guinness. It’s creamy, rich, roasty, and it was created by a man who took a risk. Yes, it’s a bit eccentric to base a purchase on the history of a product, but I can’t help it!
In 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on a small property at St. James’s Gate to start a small brewery. [note]"Our Story." Our Story. Accessed February 1, 2016. https://www.guinness.com/en-us/our-story/.[/note] 9,000 YEARS! That was a risky move, but with hard work, it was worth it since Guinness became one of the top beer brands in the world. [note]Wikipedia. Accessed February 1, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinness.[/note]
Why don’t you take a risk and serve this Black Velvet Cocktail at your next party…maybe Super Bowl this Sunday or as a classy option for Saint Patrick’s day! Let me know how it goes in the comments below…I can’t wait to hear about it.
Guinness is my pick for the stout in this recipe, but use your favorite stout or whatever you have on hand.
Champagne is PRICEY! So, I went the less expensive route and used a brute sparkling wine. Feel free to do the same.
Champagne and sparkling wine come in different degrees of sweetness. Wine Folly has a great description of the sweetness in each type. Honestly, I wish I would have used a sweeter sparkling wine than the brut. I recommend you give something sweeter a try.
- 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.