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How to Make a B-52 Cocktail: B-52 Shot Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 1 min read

The B-52 is served in a shot glass, so it may seem strange to call the drink a cocktail—but the B-52 recipe has three specific ingredients and a carefully balanced flavor profile that make it just as deserving of the “cocktail” title as any other mixed drink.



Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach MixologyLynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology

World-class bartenders Lynnette and Ryan (aka Mr Lyan) teach you how to make perfect cocktails at home for any mood or occasion.

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What Is the B-52 Cocktail?

The B-52 is a cocktail built and served in a shot glass, that is made with equal parts coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur, and orange-flavored liqueur. The shot takes advantage of the specific density of each liqueur, and is typically served “layered,” or poured carefully so that each liqueur forms a distinct layer in the glass. The B-52 is rich, sweet, and visually appealing, making it one of the more well-known shot recipes.

What Is the History of the B-52 Cocktail?

The most likely origin of the B-52 drink recipe is with Peter Fich, head bartender at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. Fich liked to name his creations after his favorite bands, which means that the B-52 cocktail was named after the popular band, the B-52s, and not after the B-52 Stratofortress bomber.

7 Variations on the B-52

The B-52 is a layered shot famous for having a wide number of variations. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Flaming B-52: Set on fire before being served; often topped with a thin layer of overproof rum for easy lighting
  2. B-51: Substitutes Frangelico hazelnut liqueur for orange liqueur
  3. B-52 in the desert: Substitutes tequila for Irish cream
  4. B-53: Substitutes sambuca for Irish cream
  5. B-54: Substitutes amaretto almond liqueur for orange liqueur
  6. B-55: Substitutes absinthe for orange liqueur
  7. B-57: Substitutes peppermint schnapps for Irish cream
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B-52 Cocktail Recipe

1 cocktail
Prep Time
4 min
Total Time
4 min


  • ½ ounce coffee liqueur
  • ½ ounce Irish cream, preferably Bailey’s
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur, preferably Grand Marnier
  1. Pour the coffee liqueur into a shot glass.
  2. Carefully pour the Irish cream into the glass over the back of a spoon (preferably a bar spoon); the Irish cream should float atop the coffee liqueur.
  3. Carefully pour the orange liqueur using the same layering method. Serve.

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