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B-52 Shot Recipe | Wine Enthusiast

B-52 Shot Recipe | Wine Enthusiast

If you’re not familiar with popular 1980s drinks, the first thing that might come to mind when you hear “B-52” is the American new wave band with a famously colorful wardrobe. But if you are, you’d probably envision the strategically layered, coffee-forward shot. Interestingly enough, the two could be connected.

Be warned: This shot might seem too pretty to drink. Rest assured, though, it’s eminently drinkable. Here’s everything to know about this triple-layered shot and how to make it the right way.

What Is a B-52?

Composed of three liqueurs—coffee liqueur, Baileys Irish cream and citrusy Grand Marnier liqueur—the B-52 is a famous layered shot that was popular in the 80s.

Where Did a B-52 Shot Come From?

The drink’s origin is a little fuzzy, but rumor has it that it was invented in 1977 by Peter Fich at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada. Cocktail lore says he named it after his favorite band, the B-52s.

How Do You Make the Layers in A B-52 Shot?

The construction of the shot is relatively easy, despite it not looking that way. It’s all about density and pouring slowly. The bottom layer should be the Baileys, the densest liquid of the three. The next-most dense liquid is the coffee liqueur, which when poured slowly and gently over the back of a spoon, gently sits atop the Baileys. Finally, the least dense liquid, Grand Marnier provides the top-most layer.

While most shots are chilled and strained, the B-52 is made by adding each ingredient directly to the shot glass. Since there’s no ice, the ingredients should be refrigerated—they layer more easily when cold.

How to Make a B-52 Shot

Recipe by Jacy Topps


⅓ ounce coffee liqueur

⅓ ounce Baileys Irish cream liqueur

⅓ ounce Grand Marnier liqueur


Pour the coffee liqueur into a shot glass. Using a spoon, slowly layer the Baileys on top of the coffee liqueur and the Grand Marnier on top of the Baileys.


What’s in a B-52 Shot?

B-52 shots are made of coffee liqueur, Baileys Irish cream and Grand Marnier liqueur.  

What Are Variations of the B-52 Shot?

Over the years, there have been a few interesting variations of the drink. For example, in a B-53, Sambuca is used in place of Irish cream. In a B-54, amaretto is used in the place of Grand Marnier.

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