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 in a pilsner glass.[2]

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 known as a "Poor Man's Black Velvet," but only if the cider and the stout have blended from the result of pouring the stout first. However, if the cider is poured first and followed with the stout being poured over a black-and-tan spoon, it is known as a "Black Adder," since cider and perry have a different density from champagne. Often the layered cider-stout drink is still called a poor man's black velvet. A mixed and not layered drink has no resemblance to the actual black velvet.
  • 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.[3]
  • 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.


  1. ^ a b "Black Velvet". 
  2. ^ Dale DeGroff (July 14, 2010). The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. 
  3. ^ "the definition of Bismarck".