The Black Russian is a simple, two-part cocktail mixing vodka and Kahlúa, a coffee liqueur made with rum, sugar, and arabica coffee. The drink was invented in the late 1940s by bartender Gustave Tops at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels in honor of Perle Mesta. The name is a simple connection to the ingredients: Kahlúa is black, while vodka is commonly associated with Russia. The dark and mysterious cocktail would have been emblematic of the time, with the Cold War having been just forming. The Black Russian is a cocktail of vodka and coffee liqueur. It contains two parts vodka to one part coffee liqueur, per IBA specified ingredients. Traditionally, the drink is made by pouring the vodka over ice cubes or cracked ice in an old-fashioned glass, followed by the coffee liqueur. A slight variation is to do a 50-50 mix if you want, totally up to you and how you’re feeling and how much you love that coffee flavor. To make it even more delicious, opt for vanilla-flavored vodka for a touch of sweetness. A dash of orange bitters is completely optional per se, but it helps put this simple drink over the top.
The espresso martini is a cold, coffee-flavored cocktail made with vodka, espresso coffee, and coffee liqueur. The now-classic drink was invented by British bartender Dick Bradsell at Fred’s Club in London, in 1980. Bradsell complied, mixing vodka with espresso and coffee liqueur, and the Espresso Martini was born.