The Revolver cocktail is a dapper drink that combines the bold, sophisticated flavours of bourbon, coffee liqueur, and orange bitters in a satisfyingly rich and complex way. A little bitter and somewhat earthy, with a spicy, citrusy zing to round it all off, it’s a drink that means business – an iron fist in a velvet glove, if you will. Here’s our recipe.
Orange bitters adds something zesty, but conventional bitters are fine as well.
Try blood orange peel to layer further delicate bitter notes.
Brandy or cognac can be used instead of bourbon.
Combine the bourbon, coffee liqueur and orange bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice, and stir until well-chilled
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Flame an orange peel over the top of the drink to express the oil, and garnish the drink with the peel
How the Revolver cocktail recipe came to be
The credit for this exceptional drink goes to mixologist and bartender Jon Santer, who first stirred it up at the Bourbon and Branch speakeasy-style bar in San Francisco, California in the late 1990s.
A smooth riff on the classic Manhattan template, the bourbon-based drink has a kick of caffeine and amazing depth of flavour with coffee liqueur replacing the sweet vermouth.
The name ‘Revolver’ is said to be a nod to the rotating cylinder of a firearm, which is echoed in the swirl of the coffee liqueur in the glass. The drink has since become a popular cocktail in bars and restaurants around the world, and it is a top choice for cocktail enthusiasts who enjoy the rich, smoky flavours of bourbon and coffee.
Revolver cocktail variations to try
If the Revolver Cocktail hits all the right spots, here are a few other mixed drinks with exciting twists you can try at home.
Tiramisu White Russian cocktail
Dessert cocktails are always an indulgent delight. The Tiramisu White Russian is an Italian and Russian love child that blends the best of rich coffee liqueur, fruity rum, and fluffy whipped cream to create a drink that celebrates the flavour of Tiramisu (which literally means ‘pick me up’ in Italian).
Mexican Coffee cocktail
To make Mexican Coffee, pick your favourite coffee, a good quality coffee liqueur, and an aged reposado tequila (our go-to is Espolòn Tequila Reposado) to add extra vanilla and caramel notes. Serve warm in a mug, and add a dusting of cayenne powder if you’re feeling brave.
Our Blackjack cocktail is vegan-friendly and made with coffee amaro, cognac, cherry liqueur, and cold-brewed coffee mixed and poured over ice. It has a fresh espresso flavour and a lovely cherry and orange finish.
Velvet Revolver cocktail
Feeling a little fruity? Add one spoon of strawberry jam or preserve and 45ml Cognac in the base of a shaker and stir until combined. Add ice, along with 15ml red wine, 15ml lemon juice, 10ml simple syrup, and two dashes of bitters. Shake until frosty, and fine strain into a serving glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a strawberry slice and serve.
When to serve a Revolver Cocktail
The coffee flavour of the Revolver Cocktail makes it a great after-dinner drink. We also love serving it at:
- Wintery dinner parties (warms from the inside out)
- 1920s dress-up parties (it’s got that speakeasy vibe to it)
- Bourbon Heritage Month, celebrated each year in September
- National Coffee Day, celebrated each year on 29 September