I don't typically want to change the names of classic cocktails, especially not ones invented in the 1940s, however, in the current climate, calling this a Black Russian felt somewhat distasteful. I therefore decided that The Zelensky would be a much better name for it.
An incredibly easy drink to make, it was invented in 1949 by a Belgian bartender called Gustave Tops who was working at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. He made this drink for the US Ambassador to Luxembourg and named it due to the use of vodka.
Traditionally garnished with a slice of lemon or a maraschino cherry, this is a delightful "sippy" drink that will make you feel incredibly grown up. That is until you use it to dip one of my yummy doodles into it...
Traditionally you would add sugar to this, but I am using vanilla vodka as I think it gives it a wonderfully musky flavour. If you don't have vanilla vodka, you can make your own in one of 2 ways (I'm always here for the life hacks!). Firstly, if you have used a vanilla pod for baking or cooking, don't throw away the husk, add it to a bottle of plain vodka and leave it for about a week and it will beautifully permeate into the alcohol. If you don't have the time, or the pods and you have vanilla extract in your store cupboard (please please please use extract NOT essence), then you will need 1 tsp of extract to every 250ml of vodka you use. Mix the two together and you have vanilla vodka! Done! I use Little Pod vanilla as it is not only real vanilla, it is also superior in flavour.
25ml coffee liqueur (I use Fair, but any other coffee liqueur will be fine, although avoid Kahlua unless you are making the "white" version)
50ml vanilla vodka
slice of lemon or maraschino cherry
To a lo-ball glass, add your coffee liqueur and top with the vodka. Add a small amount of ice and stir this with a bar spoon (if you don't have a bar spoon you can use a teaspoon or just swirl it but a bar spoon really does make all the difference).
Once stirred, top off with ice and garnish.
If you want to make a "white" version of this drink - made popular and incredibly cool by The Dude in The Big Lebowski, you simply need to add some cream. Yum!