B52 Cocktail Recipe

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B52 Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The B52 cocktail is a layered shot that was invented in the 1970s by Peter Fich, a head bartender at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada. It is named after the B-52 Stratofortress bomber used by the United States Air Force. The cocktail gained popularity in the 1980s and has since become a classic.

  • The B52 is often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink or a party starter
  • The cocktail's layers represent the different colors of a B-52 bomber's tail flames
  • It is best served in a shot glass, allowing the layers to be clearly visible

How B52 Tastes?

The B52 cocktail has a rich, sweet, and creamy taste with a hint of coffee and orange flavors. It is smooth and warming, making it a perfect sipping drink.

Interesting facts about B52

  • The B52 is a member of the 'pousse-café' family of layered cocktails
  • The cocktail's layers are created by carefully pouring each ingredient over the back of a spoon, which helps to maintain the distinct layers
  • The B52 can also be served as a 'flaming B52', where the top layer of the drink is set on fire



With its rich, coffee-flavor, Kahlúa lays the foundation of the B52. A standard 0.5 oz is just enough to not overpower the other ingredients. Without it, you'd miss the depth and character it provides. Substitute it with another coffee liqueur, but be warned—you might end up with a different buzz!

Alex Green

Baileys Irish Cream

Creamy and slightly chocolatey, Baileys is the blanket that comforts the strong coffee notes. Too much, and it's a cream-fest; too little, and it gets lost. No Baileys? Well, any Irish Cream could do, but it's like replacing the lead singer in your favorite band—a risky move.

Emma Rose

Grand Marnier

This orange-flavored cognac liqueur is the flashy top hat of the drink. 0.5 oz gives a touch of citrus sophistication without turning it into a fruit cocktail. Miss it out, and you'll lack the citrus notes that cut through the creaminess. Swap it for triple sec if you must, but that's the encore without the main act.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make B52 Drink

  1. Prepare the shot glass: Use a clean, dry shot glass
  2. Layer the Kahlúa: Carefully pour 15ml of Kahlúa into the shot glass
  3. Layer the Baileys Irish Cream: Slowly pour 15ml of Baileys Irish Cream over the back of a spoon, so it floats on top of the Kahlúa
  4. Layer the Grand Marnier: Finally, pour 15ml of Grand Marnier over the back of a spoon, so it floats on top of the Baileys Irish Cream

Pro Tips

  • Use chilled ingredients: This will help maintain the layers and improve the taste.
  • Pour slowly: The key to perfect layering is to pour each ingredient slowly over the back of a spoon.
  • Serve immediately: The B52 is best enjoyed immediately after it's made.

Perfect Pairings

Coffee & Desserts

A classic B52 pairs wonderfully with coffee-related desserts. Think about tiramisu or a warm, rich chocolate brownie. The coffee flavor in the Kahlúa brings harmony to such pairings, while the creamy Baileys complements the dense sweetness of the desserts.


A cheese platter featuring creamy and mild cheeses would be elevated by the B52's smooth layers. Opt for Brie or Camembert to balance the sweetness of the drink.

Spicy & Salty Snacks

To contrast the B52’s sweetness, spicy nuts or crispy bacon strips provide a salty and savory counterpart that is not easily forgotten. Remember, life is all about balance!

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What you could change in B52

  • Kahlúa: Can be replaced with any coffee liqueur.
  • Baileys Irish Cream: Can be substituted with any cream liqueur.
  • Grand Marnier: Can be replaced with any orange-flavored liqueur.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

B52 with a Bang

Add a thin layer of overproof rum on top and ignite it for a flaming experience. Remember, never shoot a flaming B52—that's an indoor firework gone wrong.

  • Kahlúa: 0.5 oz
  • Baileys Irish Cream: 0.5 oz
  • Overproof rum (instead of Grand Marnier): A thin layer

Light it up before serving. The bitterness of burnt alcohol contrasts with the sweet layers below.

B52 in the Tropics

Swap the Grand Marnier for coconut rum to give it a tropical twist. This variant feels like the kind of decision you make when you want to be on a beach, but you're in a bar in Minnesota in January.

  • Kahlúa: 0.5 oz
  • Baileys Irish Cream: 0.5 oz
  • Coconut rum (instead of Grand Marnier): 0.5 oz

The coconut rum adds a lush, tropical flavor that hints at palm trees and sunsets.

B52 Coffee Break

Make it an after-dinner treat by adding a shot of espresso to the shot glass before the Kahlúa. It's for when the night calls for an extra kick or you're entertaining guests from Seattle—because let's face it, everything there is coffee-infused.

  • Espresso shot: 0.5 oz
  • Kahlúa: 0.5 oz
  • Baileys Irish Cream: 0.5 oz
  • Grand Marnier: 0.5 oz

Espresso adds depth and an intense coffee hit, leaving you ready for whatever the night brings.

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Frequently Asked Questions on B52

Can I mix the layers of the B52 cocktail or should they remain separate?

The B52 cocktail is traditionally served with all ingredients layered separately. The layering effect is part of the experience of this cocktail. However, some people might prefer to stir the layers before drinking.

What other drinks belong to the 'pousse-café' family of layered cocktails?

Other drinks in the 'pousse-café' family include the Rainbow cocktail and the Angel's Tip.

Can I make the B52 cocktail without alcohol?

Given that all main components of the B52 cocktail are alcoholic beverages, it's hard to replicate its taste and appearance without alcohol. However, you may experiment with coffee, cream and orange juice to try and simulate the flavors.

What types of occasions is the B52 cocktail appropriate for?

The B52 cocktail is often enjoyed at parties and casual gatherings. It is also a popular after-dinner drink in some cultures.

Is it safe to try the 'flaming B52' at home?

Care must be taken when setting any drink on fire. Unless you're experienced with flaming drinks, it is safer not to attempt at home.

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