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A red eye is a fortified coffee drink in which espresso is combined with normal drip coffee. It is known by various names, some of which refer to different variants.


Drip coffee to which espresso is added may be called a red eye, black eye, or dead eye, depending on the number of shots which have been added.

While "black eye" was named for the appearance of the circular black marking caused by pouring the shot on the top of the cup of coffee with cream, the "red eye" was named for the extra added zip needed to stay awake through an overnight "red eye" flight from the West Coast to New York.

It may also be referred to as a Canadiano, particularly if the drip coffee is added to the espresso (rather than espresso to the drip), punning on an Americano, which is hot water added to espresso.

Alternative names[]

The red eye has many monikers, depending on the region.

  • In Alaska, it is known as a "sludge cup," possibly in reference to the state's large petroleum industry (see oil sludge).
  • In the Pacific Northwest, a single and double shot is known as a "shot in the dark" and a "double shot in the dark" respectively.
  • At Whitemoor Mine it was known as a Wellard Coffee - a reference to the dog in Eastenders and the fact that one had to be "Well Hard", i.e. tough, to drink it.
  • Another alternative to the name is hammerhead.
  • At the Horse Brass pub in Portland, Oregon it may be referred to as a "Stink Eye".
  • A variant in northern California is known as the "Train Wreck."
  • Parts of the Northeast coast in the US refer to it as the "mondo".
  • In Ulysses, Kansas, it is known as an "oil spill"
  • In the mountain Southwest, particularly SW Colorado and parts of New Mexico, it is sometimes called a "Shot in the Dark."
  • Vancouver (Canada) residents have sometimes referred to this as a "Double Drip"

Other drinks[]

In Canada and parts of the US, a red eye is a traditional drink combining tomato juice or clamato with beer. Red Eye is also an Australian energy drink brand.