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Red eye  

A red eye is a coffee drink which combines espresso with normal drip brewed coffee. This drink has variations that are known by other names.


Drip coffee to which espresso is added may be called a red eye, black eye, or dead eye as, respectively, one, two, or three shots are added.

“Black eye” was named for the circular black mark when a shot is poured on top of a cup of coffee with cream. “Red Eye” was named for the adrenaline boost needed to stay awake during an overnight flight. “Dead eye,” in addition to rhyming with “Red Eye,” implies the drink is enough to “raise the dead.”

The drinks may also be referred to as a canadiano, particularly if the drip coffee is added to the espresso, rather than espresso to the drip. It is a pun on americano, which is hot water added to espresso.

Other names

Depending on the location, the red eye is also known as has many monikers, depending on the region.

  • A “sludge cup” in Alaska. This may refer to the state’s petroleum industry.
  • A “shot in the dark” in the Pacific Northwest.
  • At Whitemoor Mine, England, it is known as a “Wellard” coffee, referring to the dog in the television show Eastenders and the fact that one had to be tough - “well hard” – to drink it.

Other names are “depth charge” or “hammerhead.” At the Horse Brass pub in Portland, Oregon, it has been called a “stink eye.”

Other drinks

In Canada, a red eye is a non-coffee drink that combines tomato juice or clamato with beer.