B-52 (cocktail)

B-52 (cocktail)

iba = yes
source =
sourcelink = b52
name = B-52

caption =
type = layered
flaming =
other = Kahlúa
irishc = yes
gmarnier = yes
served = neat
garnish = Stirrer
drinkware = shot
ingredients = *2cl (1 part) Kahlúa
*2cl (1 part) Baileys Irish Cream
*2cl (1 part) Grand Marnier
prep = Layer ingredients into a shot glass. Serve with a stirrer.
notes =
footnotes =
The B-52 (also B52 or "Bifi") is a layered cocktail shooter composed of a coffee liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream, and Grand Marnier. When prepared properly, the ingredients separate into three distinctly visible layers. The layering is due to the relative densities of the ingredients.


The name refers to the US B-52 Stratofortress long-range bomber. This bomber was used in the Vietnam War for the release of incendiary bombs, which likely inspired today's flaming variant of the cocktail.

The origin of the B-52 is uncertain. One school that the B-52 was invented at the Keg Steakhouse in Calgary, Alberta in 1977. [cite book|last=Mulligan|first=Shawn M.|title=Mulligan's Bar Guide|year=2005|publisher=Harper Collins|isbn=0002007223] It is also rumored to have been created by Adam Honigman, a former bartender at New York City's Maxwell's Plum bar, during the late 1970s or early 1980s.Fact|date=September 2008

The B-52's widespread popularity has resulted in many variations, each earning a slightly different designation (see variations below for a small sampling). All together, the drinks are referred to as the "B-50 series" of layered cocktails.


There are special machines that can prepare a B-52 (or other multi-layered cocktails) in only a few seconds. However, an experienced bartender usually relies on the traditional, hand-made preparation. Cocktails with horizontal layering, like the B-52, are also called "Pousse Café". This method of the preparation is called "building," as opposed to blending or shaking, thus, B-52s are "built."

B-52s are usually served in a shooter or sherry glass, although a heatproof glass is required when a "flaming B-52" is served. First, a coffee liqueur, such as Tia Maria or Kahlúa, is poured into the glass. Next, Bailey's Irish Cream is poured very slowly over the back of a cold bar spoon; taking care to avoid disturbing the lower layer as the second liquor is poured on top. Just as carefully, Grand Marnier is poured atop the Irish Cream using the bar spoon.

Flaming B-52

For a Flaming B-52, substitute a dark overproof rum with 60-80% alcohol by volume for the Grand Marnier. The higher alcohol content is required to support combustion. Filling the glass to the top reduces the amount of glass exposed to the flames, making the glass less likely to break, but the drink easier to spill. It is best to leave the flaming B-52 on the bartop and drink it through a straw. Once lit the drink should be finished quickly to avoid overheating the glass and burning the straw. Unless the flame is extinguished before drinking, a fireproof straw—such as one made of metal—may be preferred.

Variant drinks

* B-52 with Bombay Doors, a B-52 with Bombay gin
* B-52 in the Desert, a B-52 with tequila rather than Bailey's Irish Cream [ [http://www.check-six.com/lib/Drinks/toast_2_B-52s%20in%20the%20desert.htm A Toast to the B-52s in the Desert ] ]
* B-52, a B-52 with Cointreau
* B-53, a B-52 with vodka
* B-54, a B-52 with amaretto
* B-55, a B-52 with absinthe
* B-57, a B-52 with Sambuca, and triple sec rather than Grand Marnier
* B-61, a B-52 with vanilla and creme de cacao
* B-1, a B-52 with Ketel One vodka [ [http://www.check-six.com/lib/Drinks/toast_2_B-1A.htm A Toast to the X-15A-3 ] ]


*cite book|last=Cross|first=Robert|title=The Classic 1000 Cocktail Recipes|origyear=1996|year=2003|publisher= [http://www.foulsham.com Foulsham] |id=ISBN 0-572-02852-0

ee also

* List of cocktails
* List of shooters

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