Black Velvet

Black Velvet

1/2 Guinness Stout
1/2 Champagne (Navarro Brut)

Pour very carefully.

This one arrived rather coincidentally, as we had some Navarro sparkling wine in the house. Can’t really say I see the point. Rather have a glass of decent sparkling wine or enjoy my Guinness. Perhaps a sweeter wine would be more of a match?

But, then I’ve never really seen the point of any of the mixed beer drinks. Shandy, Snakebite, Lager and Lime… Why ruin a perfectly good pint?

When I was making the black velvet, it struck me that it seemed to be a gentrified version of the famous “Black and Tan”. Guinness, having a fairly low specific gravity, can be floated on top of heavier ales like Harp and Bass, if you are very patient and pour very carefully. I had hoped I would be able to float the Guinness on top of the sparkling wine. While it seemed to go well at first, I soon slipped, poured too quickly, and they combined. I still think it might be possible.

Supposedly this drink was first created as a sign of mourning after the death of Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria.

I guess then, they are adding the bitter guinness to darken their champange in mourning. Also named after the “black velvet” arm bands often worn in tribute to the dead.

Reading the wiki entries, it appears the black velvet may actually have pre-dated the black and tan. At least, according to the articles, the earliest documented reference to the black and tan is from around 1889. It is thought that the Black Velvet was created at the Brooks’s Club, in London, in 1861.

The Black Velvet may also go by the name “Bismarck” as it was apparently a favorite drink of Otto von Bismarck.


Black Velvet Wiki Article

Black and Tan Wiki Article

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.