A Black Russian with an Orange Twist | Wine Enthusiast
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A Black Russian with an Orange Twist

This recipe is adapted from Pour Me Another, a new cookbook featuring cocktail recipes by mixologist and James Beard Award-winning editorial director of Milk Street J.M. Hirsch.

Supposedly created in Belgium by barman Gustave Tops during the late 1940s, the Black Russian is a basic blend of two parts vodka to one part Kahlúa. Add heavy cream or milk and it becomes a White Russian. The trouble with the Black Russian is that there isn’t a whole lot happening.

The vodka doesn’t bring much more than booziness to the table, which means you’re pretty much sipping boosted Kahlúa. The fix, however, is simple. The drink becomes a Brando Russian if you add orange bitters to the mix. That and a splash of orange liqueur are just right to add the balancing bright notes this otherwise simple cocktail needs.

How to Make A Brando Russian


2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Kahlúa
¼ ounce orange liqueur
Dash orange bitters
Ice cubes

Making of a Brando Russian - pouring a shot
Photo by Brittany Conerly

In a stirring glass, combine the vodka, Kahlúa, orange liqueur and bitters.

Making of a Brando Russian - stirring
Photo by Brittany Conerly

Stir with ice cubes.

Making of a Brando Russian - pouring into a rock glass
Photo by Brittany Conerly

Strain into a rocks glass with 1 large or 2 standard ice cubes.

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