This St. Patrick’s Day, if, like me, you have long outgrown crowded, rowdy bars serving Juvenile plastic cups of watery green beer, raise a glass to your Irish heritage with the original Irish cocktail. I’m talking about Black Velvet, an elegant combination of Guinness or other stout beer with champagne, that was created in the late nineteenth century. Like the little black dress, its sophistication lies in its simplicity. It says that you know who you are and having nothing to prove.
The first time I drank Black Velvet was in rooms at midnight at Trinity Ball, the social event of the year at Trinity College Dublin. I was also served the cocktail as an after dinner drink in Chicago at a party celebrating the birthday of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. To quote the great man “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” I’ll drink to that. Slainte!
To make a Black Velvet, pour Guinness or other stout halfway up a champagne flute – tilt the glass toward you to preserve the creamy head of the beer – then fill the rest of the glass with chilled champagne.