Baileys B-52

Baileys B-52 cocktail shot recipe

The B-52, a shot cocktail served in a small glass, is meticulously composed with equal portions of Irish cream liqueur, coffee liqueur, and orange-flavoured liqueur. Its uniqueness lies in the precise layering of these liqueurs, keeping in mind their distinct densities. This method involves a detailed pouring method, resulting in colourful bands of well-defined layers of liquid in the glass. Known for its decadent sweetness and striking colours, the B-52 has earned its reputation as one of the most distinguished and popular shot recipes.

The origins of B-52 are contentious, but fascinating. One account speaks of an American bartender, Adam Honigman, who worked at New York City’s Maxwell’s Plum Bar, sometime in the late 1970s. The nomenclature of B-52 was thought to be a direct reference to the famous bombing plane used by The United States of America in the Vietnam War. The plane was used to drop incendiary napalm bombs on the warring opponent. Fiery and impactful, these bombs were crucial in winning the war. However, if this legend were to hold true, then the nomenclature stands as rather insensitive. But considering the time period was late 1970, the cocktail might have been the celebratory consequence of a country grappling with the aftermath of war. The cocktail’s preparation also holds deep references to the fiery bombs, especially since it involves setting fire to the Grand Marnier garnish used in the drink.

Another tale associated with the cocktail goes back to late 1970s Canada. It is said that the B-52 shot was first made in Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta by the head bartender named Peter Fich. His inspiration behind this marvel was, of course, The B-52s band. In fact, the band itself derived its name from the hairstyle that resembled something akin to a beehive (you may pull Marge Simpson as a reference). Alternately, the hairstyle was also supposed to be a callback to the B52 Stratofortress bomber.

The conflicting narratives cast a shroud of doubt around the drink’s name. Some bartenders firmly discourage the use of "B52 Bomber," asserting that this is an inaccurate and unrelated term. Conversely, others argue that the "Bomber" suffix is an integral part of the cocktail's name.

Consisting mainly of Baileys’, coffee liqueur, and triple sec, the B-52 shot has innumerable variations. The "Flaming B-52," as implied by its name, is set ablaze before being presented to customers.

Many shots are essentially permutations of the original recipe with a few tweaks here and there, like the "B-52", “B-51” or “B-53”. While the first incorporates tequila in place of Irish cream, the second substitutes Frangelico hazelnut liqueur with orange liqueur. Alternatively, the third supplants Irish cream with sambuca.

Ingredients

  • Baileys Irish Cream - 20ml
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  • Kahlua - 20ml
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  • Cointreau - 20ml
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Method

Pour the coffee liqueur into a shot glass.

Slowly layer the Baileys on top of the coffee liqueur and the orange liqueur on top of the Baileys.

Baileys B-52

Mixologist: Shreya Paul

Ingredients

Method

Pour the coffee liqueur into a shot glass.

Slowly layer the Baileys on top of the coffee liqueur and the orange liqueur on top of the Baileys.

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Baileys B-52