Believed to have been created by a bartender at the Brooks Club in London, England, the Black Velvet was born in 1891 while the country was in mourning for Queen Victoria’s late husband, Prince Albert. The bartender thought Champagne was too celebratory for the occasion, so he combined it with stout.
A Velvet, as opposed to a Black Velvet, is made with porter instead of stout.–Brian D. Murphy
LC So, Sooooo Smooth Note
While we extend our respects–albeit a century late–to the somber origins of this cocktail, there’s no way we can contain our enthusiasm, our rapture, our over-the-moonness for it. Though it may seem an unlikely collision of sorts, it’s actually an inspired communion of effervescence and denseness, titillating and satiating, ladylike delicateness and handsome ruggedness. It’s so, sooooo smooth, it’s no surprise the cocktail takes the word “velvet” for its title. And, like its namesake, the libation lends a sense of subdued sophistication to any celebration, whether the accompanying attire is your fanciest pants or your comfiest faded jeans. But don’t take our word for it. See, or rather, sip for yourself.
Indulge us, please, just a tad longer so we can inform you of the proper making of a Black Velvet. Tradition holds the stout goes into the glass first. This technique creates a rather dramatic presentation since the Champagne, due to the difference in densities, lingers atop the stout in an impressive, if ephemeral, subsequent layer. It’s only a matter of time until the boozes mingle. To extend the lifetime of the layers, pour the Champagne over the back of a spoon to prevent it from plunging headlong into the stout.
Black Velvet Cocktail Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 5 M
- Serves 1
- 3 ounces stout (we’re talking Guinness here, folks, or the like)
- 3 ounces Champagne
- 1. Fill a Champagne flute halfway with stout.
- 2. Top it off with Champagne.
- 3. Imbibe.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Dec 26, 2011
The Black Velvet is a classic, and is perfect for when you have a group of family/friends over and want to present some cocktail options that are quick to mix up, yet go beyond your basic liquor + soda/tonic. The Guinness and champagne pair together surprisingly well, with the latter adding a bubbly kick to the former. To make for a more attractive presentation, first pour the stout, let it settle, then carefully pour the champagne on top (letting it carefully drizzle down the back of a bar spoon, if necessary), so that you have two distinct layers. I imagine garnishing the glass with some edible gold leaf would be particularly attractive, or maybe just a strawberry if you don’t want to get overly fancy.
Black Velvet Cocktail Recipe © 2011 Brian D. Murphy. Photo © 2011 Liz Banfield. All rights reserved.