As a big vodka soda fan, who’s happy to indulge in one (okay, or two or three) no matter the season at the end of a long week, sometimes the urge comes along to mix things up a little bit. So how ‘bout adding a little pick-me-up, like coffee, to the vodka instead of club soda, one might ask? Even better, how about a coffee-flavored liqueur? Wellllll, twist my arm why don’t ya, that enticing combination of vodka + coffee flavor is how the quintessential, classic Black Russian was born. And it couldn’t be simpler to make, with just two parts vodka, one part coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlúa, and a maraschino cherry on top makes it look oh-so-pretty (but if you don’t have any cherries, that’s all good too).
This is the traditional ratio, but you can 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 a vanilla-flavored vodka for a touch of sweetness. A dash of orange bitters is, again, completely optional, but it really helps put this simple drink over the top; we definitely recommend it if you have some on hand. So get out that bottle of Kahlúa that's been hanging out in the back of your liquor cabinet for who knows how long. As a happy hour or dessert cocktail, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t made Black Russians a part of your drinks rotation before! —Jill Baughman
Orange bitters and maraschino cherries, for serving (optional)
Fill an old-fashioned or rocks glass with ice. Add the vodka and coffee-flavored liqueur and stir for 20 to 30 seconds, until well chilled. Add a couple dashes of orange bitters and garnish with the cherries, if using.