B-52 Cocktail Ingredients

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 review.
Please wait...

PREP TIME 5 min

Cocktail Type

Liqueur

Great for

Dinner Party

Difficulty

Medium

B-52 Cocktail

Introducing the B-52 drink, a distinctive triple-layered shot of three liqueurs—coffee, Irish cream, and orange. While the B-52 is traditionally served in a shot glass, we’re serving ours after dinner in a wine glass with some slightly more generous proportions!

QUICK TIPS

01

Don’t fret the layers, the secret is all in the pour, it’s not that tricky and all you need is a spoon.

02

For a Flaming B-52 — add a shot of high proof rum  on top and flambé away.

03

On balmy days, make a Frozen B52, just a blend of the original ingredients with crushed ice. 

INGREDIENTS

MAKE FOR

1 Person

1 Oz

30 Ml

1 Parts

Coffee liqueur
1 Oz

30 Ml

1 Parts

Irish cream liqueur
1 Oz

30 Ml

1 Parts

INSTRUCTIONS

01

Pour the coffee liqueur into a wine glass

02

With the back of a spoon lowered into your glass, gently pour the Irish cream over the spoon to float on the liqueur below

03

Repeat this method with the Grand Marnier. Serve and enjoy!

The best B-52 cocktail recipe

Just like a B-52 shot, B-52 cocktail ingredients include equal quantities of coffee, Irish cream, and orange liqueurs, resulting in a coffee-cream drink with a sweet orange kick. We love Grand Marnier as it packs all the bitter orange tang you need to deliver a perfect balance! Don’t worry about making the layers; it’s not that tricky and all you need is a spoon.

Read next: 9 Tasty Cointreau Substitutes to Try in 2023

The history of the B-52 cocktail recipe

The B-52 Cocktail is a classic drink that has been enjoyed by many cocktail enthusiasts for decades. Its origins lie shrouded in some very intriguing cocktail-lore mystery, with most sources saying it was named after the B-52 Stratofortress, a long-range bomber that was first flown by the US Air Force in the 1950s.

The story goes that the B-52 Cocktail was invented in the 1970s by a bartender named Peter Fich, who worked at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada. Fich was said to have created the drink as a tribute to the B-52 bomber, which was used extensively in the Vietnam War.

One theory about the name of the B-52 Cocktail is that it was inspired by the bomber’s ability to fly at high altitudes, much like the drink’s layers. Another theory is that the drink’s fiery finish is reminiscent of the bombs dropped by the B-52 during wartime. Or, if you’re not all that into military vibes, you could possibly get behind the story that Finch was actually inspired by one of his favorite bands, the B-52’s – an American new wave band from Athens, Georgia.

Despite its somewhat murky origins, the B-52 Cocktail has become a popular drink in bars and nightclubs around the world. It’s a fun and festive clinker that’s perfect for special occasions and celebrations.

How to layer B-25 cocktail ingredients like a pro

As will all layered cocktails, the secret is all in the pour. Pouring B-52 cocktail ingredients slowly over the back of a spoon breaks the flow of the liqueur, slowing it down so it doesn’t disturb the layer below. The difference in density of the liqueurs also helps the layers stay separate and float on top of one another, so it’s important to layer from heaviest to lightest. Nifty science, right? Enjoy it layered or mix it all up together, we won’t judge.

Different B-52 cocktail variations

If you enjoy the simplicity of 3 ingredient cocktails, then these variations are worth a try. They’re still made with easy equal pours of three liqueurs, with the heaviest on the bottom and the lightest on top.

  • B-51: a hazelnut liqueur replaces the orange liqueur
  • B-53: an anise seed liqueur replaces the orange liqueur
  • B-54: a tequila replaces the orange liqueur
  • Flaming B-52: an additional shot of rum (50% ABV plus) is added on top, which you can flambé
  • Frozen B52: a blend of the original ingredients with crushed ice

If you like the idea of indulgent after-dinner cocktails but don’t necessarily want to go layered, here are a few others to consider:

Please wait...

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Traditionally, a B-52 drink is served as a party shot, allowing all mix of flavors to burst on your palette as you knock it back. For a mellower vibe, create a slow-sipping cocktail with the same ingredients in more generous pours.

A B-52 drink is a delicious blend of coffee cream with a sweet orange kick. The overarching flavor is caramel, which stems from the whiskey base of the Irish liqueur, along with its rich creaminess. The richness is bumped up with the coffee and orange liqueurs.

The average combination of all these B-52 cocktail ingredients is roughly 26% ABV. Irish cream is a low alcohol liqueur, at around 13 to 17% while coffee liqueurs are a little higher at 20%. The orange liqueur tips the scale at 30-40% ABV. Two of these cocktails will equal one shot of tequila.

A B-52 cocktail consists of an equal mix of only 3 liqueurs, resulting in a thick and creamy shot. First is the shot of coffee liqueur, then a slowly poured Irish cream liqueur and finished with orange liqueur on top.

Traditionally a B-52 drink is a shot, letting you savor all mix of flavors as you knock it back. Although if do prefer a slow sipper, pour a longer cocktail and enjoy.

Just like a B-52 shot, B-52 cocktail ingredients include equal quantities of coffee, Irish cream and orange liqueurs, resulting in a coffee-cream drink with a sweet orange kick.