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Full-flavoured stout and delicate champagne are an unlikely combination but this classic has stood the test of time. Some may wish to add a barspoon of sugar syrup.
If porter is used instead of stout, this drink becomes simply a Velvet. If beer is used, it is known as the Halstead Street Velvet.
Thought to have originated in 1861 at Brook's Club, London although some credit the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland. What is certain is that this drink was created at the time when Britain was mourning the death of HRH Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.
The Black Velvet is often served to commemorate Saint Patrick's Day but is more fittingly served on 14th December as this is the day Prince Albert died of typhoid fever in 1861. Devastated, the Queen wore black for the rest of her life so this drink's shrouding of champagne is most appropriate.
In his 1948 Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, David A. Embury writes of this drink, "I was first introduced to Black Velvet at the home of a very dear friend of mine in Montreal and I received one of the greatest of all the drinking surprises of my whole life. The combination of champagne and stout sounds terrifying - something like molasses and horseradish. Actually, it's excellent. The champagne cuts the heavy, syrupy consistency of the stout, and the stout takes the sharp, tart edge off the champagne. Each is the perfect complement of the other. Be sure, however, that you use (a) a good bottle of stout, (b) an extra-dry champagne - preferably a brut or nature."