The Black Velvet Is The Perfect Holiday Cocktail — Here’s Our Riff

The Black Velvet is a two-ingredient cocktail that’s starting to get all the love … yet again. Before we dive into its history, know this — this cocktail is super easy to make at home and one of the best tasting. To the point that you might get hooked for life. The mix is a two-layer affair that uses stout as a topper for champagne in a beer glass (often a mug or goblet).

That’s it. And it’s f*cking delicious.

Before you get too incredulous, the Black Velvet has been around for centuries. Pouring stout or porter over sparkling wine was officially started back in the mid-1800s as a memorial drink for the passing of Prince Albert, having been concocted at the famed Brooks’s Club in London — widely considered the world’s oldest gentlemen’s club in the world. The idea, the legend goes, is that the champagne should be “in mourning” too so the dark stuff was added. Though be sure, people were probably doing this well before it became “official”.

As with all things in cocktails, the fame of this drink has come and gone a million times over the years. Today, it’s starting to pop up again because it’s freakin’ delicious but also because it’s easy to make. But really, it’s because it’s delicious. So let’s make a delectable Black Velvet for holiday sipping.

Also Read: The Top Five Cocktail Recipes of the Last Six Months

Black Velvet

Black Velvet
Zach Johnston


  • 5 oz. Guinness from a can (with widget)
  • 5 oz. Dry champagne

For this recipe, you really just need Guinness – either in the can or the bottle — and decent champagne. I’m using the Guinness with the widget to add some extra velvet texture. If you want to be super authentic, use it out of the bottle, but expect more of a spiced and sharp carbonation point. As for the champagne, I’m using Pommery because that’s what’s in the fridge right now. Any standard brut will do, just make sure it’s actual champagne and not prosecco or sparkling white wine. This is a celebration drink after all.

Black Velvet
Zach Johnston

What You’ll Need:

  • Beer glass
  • Barspoon


  • Pour the chilled champagne into the bottom of the beer glass.
  • Slowly pour the Guinness over the champagne. You might need to take a break or two to let the head settle.
  • Serve.

Bottom Line:

Black Velvet
Zach Johnston

First look at that beautiful dark red hue of the drink. It’s a pretty one.

Anyway, this goes down almost too easily. It’s lush and light at the same time. The real star is how the champagne brightens the stout with a dark red berry tartness that’s dipped in light chocolate and just kissed with winter spiciness. A mild nuttiness helps keep the drink creamy while still allowing for a light and fun effervescence on the tongue.

Overall, this is a great quaffer that has a low-ish ABV and a really deep and fun flavor profile. Moreover, if you’re on the fence about the heft of Guinness (which is actually pretty light all things considered), then cutting your Guinness with champagne is the play. It lightens it further while bringing out light fruity and tart characteristics that help everything pop on the palate. It’s a winner! Plus, that addition of champagne adds a little to the “f*ck it, it’s the end of the year, let’s party” attitude we all should have right now.