An Excuse to Drink – December 14, 1861: The 150th Anniversary Of The Death of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

photo by toastbrot81 vi

Today in 1861, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, consort of Enlgand’s Queen Victoria, died at the early age of 42. A few days prior, one of the prince’s had diagnosed Albert with typhoid fever. He eventually began to suffer congestion of the lungs , and died at 10:50 p.m. on the 14th in the Blue Room of Windsor Castle, the Queen and several of their children by his side. The death of the Prince Consort at such an early age plunged the Queen into a deep mourning which lasted for the rest of her life.

The traditional drink attributed to the mourning of Albert was the Black Velvet, for such was the state of grief that it was seemingly decreed that even the champagne should be black. The drink was first created at  Brooks’s Club of London in 1861 to mimic the black or purple cloth armbands worn by mourners of the time. Is this origin story true? Maybe, but it is a good story so we’re going with it!

The Black Velvet

photo by Drunken Monkey via

adapted from a recipe at

  • Guinness Stout
  • Champagne

Glass: Champagne Flute

Garnish: None

Half fill a champagne glass with Guinness and gently pour the champagne over the back of a spoon so the liquid runs down the sides, thus avoiding the mixture of  the two liquids.

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