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You’ll never forget the Mind Eraser cocktail thanks to its easy recipe and fun flavors.

Mind Eraser with Straw from Above

We have vague memories of drinking Mind Eraser cocktails back in the 1990s, a decade after the layered cocktail was a star at NYC discotheques and lounges around the world.

However, now that we’ve crafted Mind Erasers at home, we can’t forget the caffeinated cocktail with stark similarities to the Black Russian.

What Is a Mind Eraser?

Mind Eraser with Straw and Black Background
The Mind Eraser cocktail is tamer than its name implies. It’s also delicious.

It would be easy to call the Mind Eraser a fizzy Black Russian or a Black Russian with bubbles since that’s essentially what it is. But not exactly.

Yes, the Mind Eraser drink starts with the Black Russian’s two ingredients, coffee liqueur and vodka, and adds soda water to the mix. But, unlike the Black Russian, the Mind Eraser’s ingredients are layered. Plus, it’s typically served with a straw.

In other words, the Mind Eraser is its own tasty thing.

Fun Fact
The Mind Eraser shot is a smaller version of the Mind Eraser cocktail.

History of the Mind Eraser

Mind Eraser with Liquor Bottles
The Mind Eraser’s history may be a mystery but most bartenders are familiar with this layered variation of the Black Russian.

It seems that the inventor of the Mind Eraser has been erased from cocktail history.

We can easily trace the Black Russian’s creation to Gustave Tops at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels back in 1949. But we don’t know who layered the Black Russian’s two liquors while finishing the resulting cocktail with fizzy water.

Did that barman or barwoman come up with the Mind Eraser’s name and did he or she serve the original Mind Eraser with a straw? We simply do not know the answers to these questions. Does it really matter? No, it does not.

Mind Eraser Ingredients

Mind Eraser Ingredients
The Mind Eraser’s recipe list includes fizzy water, vodka and coffee liqueur.

The Mind Eraser’s ingredient list is so short that assembling them shouldn’t hurt your brain. In fact, we won’t be surprised if you have already have the following required ingredients:

  • Vodka
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Fizzy Water (Club Soda or Sparkling Water)
  • Ice Cubes
Kahlua Bottle
Kahlúa is our preferred coffee liqueur for crafting Mind Eraser cocktails.

Coffee Liqueur

Not only does coffee liqueur taste delicious over ice, it’s also a key ingredient in Black Russian, Espresso Martini, Mudslide and White Russian cocktails. We typically use Kahlúa when crafting those cocktails as well as Mind Erasers

Sure, you could use another coffee liqueur like Australia’s Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur or Jamaica’s Tia Maria, but Mexico’s Kahlúa is a classic cocktail ingredient. Although most Kahlúa bottles have a 16% ABV, ours has a 20% ABV. We’re not sure why our bottle’s ABV is higher but we’re not complaining.

Vodka

Absolut Vodka Bottle
We’re absolutely fans of Absolut Vodka.

Since any vodka will work in our Mind Eraser recipe, we recommend using your favorite brand. We typically use Absolut Vodka since that’s our current vodka of choice. Distilled in Sweden, this vodka has a 40% ABV.

Buy bottles of coffee liqueur and/or vodka from Drizly or Total Wine if you live in the US.

How To Craft a Mind Eraser Cocktail

Mind Eraser Mise en Place
One you assemble the ingredients and basic bar tools, you’re just a few minutes away from mind erasure.

Lazy mixologists will appreciate our Mind Eraser recipe’s short list of required bar tools:

Don’t give up if you’re missing one or both of these basic bar tools. You could use an angled measuring cup instead of a jigger and a teaspoon or tablespoon instead of a cocktail spoon.

Adding Ice Cubes to Mind Eraser
You don’t need fancy ice cubes when you craft a Mine Eraser cocktail. We used ice cubes from our freezer’s automatic ice cube maker to craft this one.

The first step is to add ice to a lowball glass.

Measuring Coffee Liqueur for Mind Eraser
We poured Kahlúa into an ice-filled lowball glass as soon as we measured the iconic coffee liqueur.

The second step is to measure the coffee liqueur and pour it into the ice-filled glass. We use a Japanese jigger to measure this and other cocktail ingredients to ensure accurate measurements and avoid spillage.

Buy a Japanese jigger if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Floating Vodka into Mind Eraser Cocktail
Floating the vodka is an easy pro move that keeps the Mind Eraser’s layers intact.

The third step is to float the vodka by slowly pouring the clear liquor onto the back side of a cocktail spoon. This floating approach creates a vodka layer on top of the coffee liqueur

Floating Fizzy Water into Mind Eraser Cocktail
We topped this Mind Eraser with sparkling water but you can use club soda instead.

The final step is to top the glass with fizzy water. You’ll want to float the fizzy water on the back of a spoon just like you did when you floated the vodka.

No garnishes are necessary though you’ll want to add a short straw both for decoration and sipping.

Mind Eraser Alternatives

Crafted Mind Eraser with Ingredients
Our Mind Eraser recipe won’t overly tax your head but we understand if you wish to make this layered drink your own.

If your mind is up to the challenge, mix things up by trying the following Mind Eraser alternatives:

  • Omit the fizzy water to craft a Black Russian cocktail.
  • Omit the fizzy water and add cream to craft a White Russian cocktail.
  • Reduce the three ingredients from 2 ounces each to 0.5 ounce to craft a Mind Eraser shot.
  • Replace the fizzy water with lemon juice to craft a Black Magic cocktail.
  • Replace the fizzy water with Irish cream liqueur to craft a Blind Russian cocktail.
  • Replace the fizzy water with ginger ale to craft a Brown Russian cocktail.
  • Replace the fizzy water with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale to craft a sweeter Mind Eraser cocktail.

Mind Eraser FAQs

What is a Mind Eraser cocktail?

A Mind Eraser is basically a fizzy Black Russian that’s crafted in layers.

Where was the Mind Eraser invented?

The Mind Eraser’s history is a mystery.

What are the ingredients in a Mind Eraser?

Vodka, Coffee Liqueur, Fizzy Water and Ice Cubes

What’s the best vodka for a Mind Eraser?

Any vodka will work in the Mind Eraser recipe. We recommend using your favorite vodka.

Is Mind Eraser shaken or stirred?

The Mind Eraser is neither shaken nor stirred.

What’s the best glass for a Mind Eraser?

We like to serve this cocktail in a lowball glass but a highball glass would work too.

Will the Mind Eraser really erase your mind?

No. The Mind Eraser will not erase your mind unless you drink too many of the tasty tipples. As always, moderation is the way to go when imbibing Mind Eraser cocktails.

Mind Eraser Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces coffee liqueur
  • 2 ounces fizzy water
  • ice cubes

Instructions

    1. Fill lowball glass with ice half way to the top.
    2. Pour coffee liqueur into the glass.
    3. Slowly pour vodka into the glass by floating the vodka on the back of a spoon.
    4. Top the drink with fizzy water that you float on the back of the same spoon.
    5. Serve with a straw.

Notes

  • You can use either club soda or sparkling water in this recipe.
  • Do not stir the cocktail as this will negate the layering effect.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Original Publication Date: December 20, 2022