This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

The Mind Eraser layers coffee liqueur, vodka and soda water in a delightfully refreshing drink! It’s not as potent as its name suggests.

Mind Eraser
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Here’s a 1980’s cocktail with a name that makes it sound deceptively potent: the Mind Eraser! This it’s a bubbly and refreshing coffee cocktail, beautifully layered in a glass. Essentially a fizzy Black Russian, it’s also fairly low alcohol for a cocktail. For all its bravado, it’s really not about to erase your mind…unless you drink several of these, which we find impossible given the high sugar content. One is definitely enough! This 1980’s charmer is definitely worth a try, especially if you’re a Kahlua lover.

What’s in a Mind Eraser?

The Mind Eraser is a 1980’s cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur (like Kahlua) and soda water. It’s essentially a Black Russian variation with bubbles! The Black Russian is a classic cocktail invented back in 1949, when it was created in a hotel bar in Brussels for the American ambassador to Luxembourg (here’s more about that). You may know it’s more popular cousin the White Russian, a variation that adds a swirl of cream.

The history behind the Mind Eraser is pretty murky: our research didn’t dig up much around origin stories. It’s from the 1980’s, but exactly how and when it was invented doesn’t seem to be known. You can swirl all the ingredients together in a glass, but many bartenders like to build it in layers. You’ll need the following ingredients:

Mind Eraser drink

How to build the layers in a Mind Eraser drink

Layered drinks are always showy! This one reminds us a bit of the B52 shot that layers Kahlua, Irish cream and Grand Marnier, also popular in the heyday of the Mind Eraser. Here’s the trick to building layers in the Mind Eraser drink:

  • Start with the most dense liquid. In this case it’s the coffee liqueur or Kahlua.
  • Pour the next layers gently over the back of a spoon. The spoon causes the liquid to slow down, which helps it to settle on top of the layer below. Slowly pour on the vodka, then the soda water!

It’s a low alcohol drink: no mind erasing here!

The funny thing about the Mind Eraser is that it sounds like an ultra potent drink. But it’s actually pretty low alcohol as far as cocktails go. We’re not sure why it got this moniker, because with the sweetness of the Kahlua we can’t imagine drinking 2 or 3 of these. Here are more particulars:

  • Kahlua is low alcohol. It’s 20% ABV, versus the 40% ABV of vodka and other liquors like bourbon, gin and rum.
  • It’s watered down. There are 3 ounces of alcohol total, and then it’s watered down with soda water!

More about Kahlua

Kahlua is the most popular and easy to find coffee liqueur for making this drink. You can use other types of coffee liqueur like Tia Maria or Sheridan’s. Here’s a little more about Kahlua itself:

  • Kahlua is a coffee liqueur that’s made in Mexico with rum, sugar and coffee. Contrary to what you might think, there’s no dairy at all! Kahlua is naturally dark brown in color.
  • Does Kahlua have caffeine? Yes. Kahlua does have caffeine, but it’s only about 25% as much as the same volume of coffee.
  • How much does Kahlua cost? It costs about $15 to $20 for a large 750 ml bottle.
  • What other cocktails can you make with it? Try Kahlua drinks like the White RussianMudslideB-52Bushwacker and more.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try the Mind Eraser, and what you think of this light and refreshing coffee cocktail.

Mind Eraser cocktail

Another variation? Try the Colorado Bulldog

Love Black Russian and White Russian variations? Another cocktail to try is the Colorado Bulldog! This drink is essentially a White Russian with a splash of cola. Honestly, it tastes more like a root beer float than a cocktail! Try our Colorado Bulldog recipe.

When to serve a Mind Eraser

The Mind Eraser is an interesting drink because it’s so versatile! Many coffee cocktails are intended as after dinner drinks, but with the bubbles this one works any time. Try it as a:

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Mind Eraser

The Mind Eraser

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Mind Eraser layers coffee liqueur, vodka and soda water in a delightfully refreshing drink! It’s not as potent as its name suggests.


  • 1 ½ ounces* Kahlua (or coffee liqueur like Tia Maria or Sheridan’s)
  • 1 ½ ounces vodka
  • 1 ½ ounces soda water
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)


  1. Fill a lowball glass with ice. Add the Kahlua. Carefully pour in the vodka over the back of a spoon so it layers on top. 
  2. Carefully pour the soda water over the back of a spoon so it layers on top. Serve with straw and drink from the bottom up!


*For converting to tablespoons, 1 ½ ounces = 3 tablespoons. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Poured
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

More coffee cocktails

Love caffeinated drinks? Us too! Here are a few more coffee cocktails to try:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Jim says:

    Thank you. Very helpful info. I’ve always ordered Colorado Bulldogs at the bar and enjoyed them. Wanted to make it at home and you just told me how. Thank you. Merry Christmas!!

  2. LESA Hearon says:

    Perhaps the 80s were befor your time. What’s missing from your origin story is how to drink a Mind Eraser. You take the straw and suck the whole thing down in one draw. Also in San Antonio bars, they were often made with High proof vodkas like Everclear. Definitely erased my mind in the day.