Black vodka is a fun novelty and great for Halloween parties and other occasions with a dark theme. There are a few cocktails that specifically call for black vodka and even more that can go dark by substituting the recipe's clear vodka for a black one.
Blavod is the only commercial black vodka available, though it is not always around or the best option for a particular drink and that is where this simple little trick comes in. By using the same concept we use to create green beer for St. Patrick's Day, we can turn any vodka black as night and all you need is food coloring.
There are a few reasons why you may want to go the DIY black vodka route:
- You cannot find Blavod (there have been distribution issues over the years).
- You have a favorite vodka and prefer to use that.
- The cocktail recipe you want to turn black uses a flavored vodka.
For each of these instances, food coloring is your answer. All you have to do is use the standard black formula to go from clear to black vodka without altering the flavor.
- 1 bottle vodka
- 10 drops blue food coloring
- 10 drop red food coloring
- 8 drops green food coloring
- Add food coloring drop by drop to a bottle of vodka.
- Seal the bottle and shake well. Store as you would any other vodka until you're ready to mix a drink.
Tip: You may have to shake the bottle again before pouring a drink because the food coloring may settle.
DIY Black Vodka Is Not Perfect
This is a quick gimmick and it is, admittedly, not perfect. The actual color of the finished vodka, when poured into a glass on its own, is not a solid black.
Instead, it has a transparent, tinted black "water" look that may have a red, green, or blue hue along the edges. However, for its purposes and as long as it takes for you to mix then consume the drink, it will work.
If you're just playing with this idea, begin with a small amount of vodka in a glass (keep the 10:10:8 drops) and see if you like the effect. There's no point in wasting a full bottle if it won't work for your needs.
How Black Will Your Cocktails Be?
If you are trying to bring a non-black drink into the darkness, do some experiments first to see if it will give you the look you're going for. Depending on the mixers in the drink and their proportions, this black vodka should at least turn it a darker hue, though it is not guaranteed to turn the entire drink black.
Try a Black Rice Infusion
There is another option that you might want to consider, though it requires a specialty ingredient and a few extra days. It may not be the best solution if you're short on time or cash. The real trick is finding the black rice, which is available online or at a few specialty markets and it is not cheap.
Once you have the rice, simply infuse it into a bottle of vodka. Use a generous amount of rice (at least 1 cup per bottle) and plan on at least three days for the infusion. Give it a good shake at least once a day.
As the infusion ages, you should be able to easily gauge the results. Once the vodka has reached the desired color, strain the rice, and re-bottle your new black vodka.
This method results in a vodka that has a nice, black color and the taste is unaffected.
You also don't have to worry much about colors settling, though shaking the bottle before every pour may still be a good idea.
Black Vodka Cocktails
What can you do with your black vodka? As mentioned, you can play around with it in nearly any vodka cocktail. Since we're only altering the appearance and not the taste, you shouldn't notice much of a difference.
The cocktail recipes that call for black vodka are often as much a novelty as the liquor itself. Yet, they are fun and that's the point, right? To give you a few ideas to start with, try the black and gold, a martini-style drink with Goldschlager, or the black widow, a simple twist on the vodka-cranberry.
For a party shot, you might want to try the black rose. If you don't like that sweet, pink liqueur called Tequila Rose, try Irish cream instead.