How to Make a Black Russian Drink

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The Black Russian drink is a popular, easy to make cocktail that first appeared around the late 1940’s. 

Black Russian drink in an old fashioned glass
Black Russian drink

One thing that surprised me about making the Black Russian is how easy it was to put together. It’s a very simple two ingredient cocktail that is comprised of two basic ingredients; Vodka and Kahlua (scroll down to the recipe card for the amounts).

Where did the Black Russian come from?

The Black Russian is a drink that was originally invented in the late 1940’s by a gentleman by the name of Gustave Tops. It uses one of the most popular spirits in the world; the almighty Kahlua. You can easily substitute a different brand of coffee liqueur but considering that Kahlua is the most commonly used one, I’m going to recommend it in this recipe. I’m also not personally familiar with any alternatives to Kahlua myself but feel free to flag some in the comments if you have some recommendations.

an old fashioned glass with ice and Black Russian drink

How to Make a Black Russian

To make a Black Russian, you’ll need two ingredients; Kahlua and Vodka. You’ll combine the amounts I’ve mentioned in the recipe below with ice in a Boston Shaker and shake until the  shaker is cold to the touch. You will then pour over ice into an old fashioned glass and serve.

What is the difference between a Black Russian and a White Russian?

The difference between the Black Russian and the White Russian is simply the addition of cream to the mix and a slight change in the quantities. Both of these drinks use the same style of glass; the old fashioned glass; and are served over ice.

How many calories does a Black Russian have?

This drink is approximately 220 calories (the amount will depend on the quantities and type of alcohol being used). I’ve calculated this based on the quantities below and using vodka and Kahlua specifically.

Black Russian Variations

There are quite a few variations of this cocktail which I’ll outline below.

  • Colorado Bulldog
    A Colorado Bulldog is a variation of the Black Russian that is comprised of equal parts vodka, Kahlua and Cream which is then poured over ice and topped with Cola.
  • Black Magic
    A Black Magic cocktail is similar to the Black Russian as well. It’s made by combining 1 ounce of vodka and Kahlua and 1/3 ounce of lemon juice served over ice.
  • Brown Russian
    The Brown Russian is a variation that uses equal parts vodka, creme de cacao, cream and chocolate syrup.
  • White Russian
    The White Russian is the most common variant and is made using equal parts vodka, Kahlua and cream shaken and poured over ice.

Some other great cocktails to try

  1. Sex on the Beach Cocktail
  2. Spiked Chocolate Iced Coffee
  3. How to Make a Cosmopolitan Cocktail Drink

Hope you like it!

Mr. Magpie (Mike)


How to Make a Fabulous Black Russian Cocktail #cocktail #kahlua #vodka #drink #recipe

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Black Russian

The Black Russian drink is an easy to make and enjoy cocktail that is made from two simple ingredients; Kahlua and Vodka.
5 from 5 votes
black russian - 1
Prep Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 ounce Kahlua or another similar coffee liqueur
  • 2 ounces Vodka


  • Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  • Shake until the shaker is cold to the touch.
  • Pour over ice into an old fashioned glass and serve.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional values may vary.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 228kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Sodium: 2mg, Sugar: 13g

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Mr. Kitchen Magpie

Hey everyone! I'm Mike (Mr. Kitchen Magpie). When I'm not sharing cocktail recipes here and on my Instagram (@mrkitchenmagpie), I'm enjoying a nice bottle of scotch in a vintage glass from my barware collection.

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Site Index Cocktail Kahlua Vodka

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  1. Rita Stevenson says

    Tia Maria is a viable alternative to Kahlua.

  2. Jeff Tomlinson says

    Love me a good Black Russian. I’ve been drinking these for years. I personally prefer to use a splash of chocolate vodka along with the normal vodka. It gives it a little extra chocolate kick!5 stars

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