What is the difference between a Black Russian and an Espresso Martini?
Black Russian Cocktail

The Black Russian cocktail – straight up yet versatile

The Black Russian cocktail has a fascinating history and was invented in 1949 at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels, by Belgian barman Gustave Tops.

The Black Russian cocktail owes its name to the use of vodka, a Russian spirit, and the blackness of coffee liqueur, a tantalising combination which appeared in 1949 at the start of the Cold War. Making a mysterious dark drink by mixing it with a Russian spirit was fitting for the times.

The variety, depth and combination of each of the different ingredients, makes the Black Russian a versatile cocktail, but its fascination with coffee as a base flavour, makes it fair to ask what the difference is between a Black Russian and an Espresso Martini?

Espresso mug with coffee beans

Punch over strength?

A Black Russian cocktail is traditionally made with two main ingredients namely; vodka and coffee liqueur.

The Espresso Martini, however, takes the coffee infused flavour and strength one notch further by adding a shot of freshly brewed espresso. The extra work involved in also making an espresso on top of the cocktail, is, in part, why bartenders don’t like making them. Let’s make one anyway!

Black Russian cocktail recipe

So how does one make the mysterious Black Russian cocktail? You will need:

Add the vodka and liqueur into a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over ice.

Now sip your cocktail while mysteriously peering from under the brim of your hat and dark glasses!

For more detailed steps, follow this easy recipe to make your own Black Russian cocktail.