Black Velvet

December has arrived in Washington and with it, falling temperatures and the Christmas season.  Although decorations appear earlier and earlier each year, Black Friday truly signals the holiday’s arrival.  Following the Thanksgiving weekend, several publications spent the week discussing a multitude of non-traditional holiday beverages.  And by non-traditional, I mean everything but eggnog.

The New York Times in particular produced an impressive interactive feature entitled “For Every Holiday Party, the Right Drink.”  While many of the feature’s dozen seasonal beverage recipes required extremely specialized and obscure ingredients – green Chartreuse, allspice liqueur, Cynar, and dried horehound, to name a few – one required only two, easy to find components: Guinness and champagne.  Combined in equal proportions they make a Black Velvet, a winter drink perfectly suited for both holiday parties and cold, snowy afternoons at home.

Considered by some drink experts to be “the most elegant and delicious of beer drinks,” the Black Velvet combines two flavors – bitter and sweet – that complement one another.  As if by some Christmas miracle, the heavy, bitter beer envelops the light, sweet champagne to produce a drink both sweet and savory.  When poured, the drink’s pillowy head sits carefully atop the dark black stout, whose color clearly inspired the drink’s name.

Black Velvet’s simplicity allows and encourages variety; any stout can be paired with any champagne, according to taste, loyalty, or simple convenience.  The same goes for choice of glass: I prefer a champagne coupe, the wide, shallow, and less feminine alternative to the traditional flute.  The coupe is a touch more masculine yet no less appropriate or festive.

Before winter sets in and brings those snowy weekend afternoons, try the gift of Guinness at your next holiday party.  You will have, after borrowing some of that ubiquitous champagne, a simply delicious drink while conveying individuality, festivity, and sophistication.

Published in: on December 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm  Comments (8)  
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  1. This sounds just delightful, think I will try this tonight!! CHEERS!!!

    • Hey THF we made it back to the farm! Enjoying a wonderful Guinness! Next drink will be a Black Velvet in honor of you! Merry Christmas and have a Wonderful New Year!

      PS Luke and Jerry are enjoying your blog!

  2. I always enjoy the winter beers with their hint of nutmeg, citrus etc. Last New Years Eve, we made several pitchers of “Mistletoes” which were really nothing more than the typical Cosmopolitan Martini. When I ran out of Triple Sec (several pitchers into the evening) we decided we couldn’t call them Mistletoes anymore….so we mixed several more pitchers of “Camel Toes”. Ha.

  3. Yo THF!

    I’ve read about the Black Velvet but have yet to try it. Sounds tasty!

    So I’ve got a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in the fridge and some prosecco in the basement. Think that’ll work?


    • I don’t see why not. Try it and let me know how it turns out.

  4. And as an added benefit, if you make yourself a Black Velvet, there is sure to be an almost full bottle of open champagne floating around for someone else to polish off!

  5. Yo THF!

    Congrats on the Foodista “Drink Blog of the Day” honors! Very cool!


  6. I’ve got your horehound right here.

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