The Revolver cocktail is a dapper drink that combines the bold, sophisticated flavors 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.
Brief history of the Revolver cocktail
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 flavor, with coffee liqueur replacing 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 flavors 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 flavor of Tiramisu (which literally means ‘pick me up’ in Italian).
- Mexican Coffee cocktail: To make Mexican Coffee, pick your favorite 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.
- Blackjack cocktail: 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 flavor and a lovely cherry and orange finish.
- Velvet Revolver cocktail: Feeling a little fruity? Add one spoon of strawberry jam or preserve and 1.5 oz Cognac in the base of a shaker and stir until combined. Add ice, along with 0.5 oz red wine, 0.5 oz lemon juice, 0.25 oz 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 flavor 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
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