Black Velvet (beer cocktail)

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Black Velvet
Black Velvet Cocktail Layered.jpg
A layered Black Velvet cocktail with the stout on the top
Type Mixed drink
Served Straight up; without ice
Standard drinkware pilsner glass
Commonly used ingredients stout and Champagne
Preparation mix equal parts stout and Champagne
Prince Albert in 1860, the year before his death

The Black Velvet is a beer cocktail made from a stout (often Guinness) and white, sparkling wine, traditionally Champagne.

The drink was first created by the bartender of Brooks's Club in London in 1861, to mourn the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's Prince Consort.[1] It is supposed to symbolise the black or purple cloth armbands worn by mourners.


A Black Velvet is made by mixing equal parts of stout and Champagne or cider.

Layered variation[edit]

A Black Velvet can also be made by filling a champagne flute halfway with sparkling wine and floating the chilled stout beer on top of the wine. The differing densities of the liquids cause them to remain largely in separate layers (as in a pousse-café). The effect is best achieved by pouring over a spoon turned upside down over the top of the glass so that the liquid runs gently down the sides rather than splashing into the lower layer and mixing with it.[1]

Similar drinks[edit]

  • When cider or perry is used in place of the more expensive champagne, it is still known as a Black Velvet in the originating country, the UK.
  • In Germany, a version of this mixed beer drink made with Schwarzbier (a dark lager) and served in a beer stein or beer mug is called a "Bismarck". According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the "Iron Chancellor" supposedly drank it by the gallon.[2]
  • A similar effect is achieved by the "Black and Tan", which is a mixture of a dark and a light-coloured beer, though the more similar specific densities allow for less distinct layers.
  • A variation called Velluto Italiano – Italian Velvet – substitutes two parts Birra Moretti La Rossa as the grain component and one part Prosecco as the grape component. The drink was developed to span the range between sweeter cider and dryer champagne variations while taking advantage of the increased interest in Prosecco in the United States.