Sweet, creamy, and a little bit dangerous, the B-52 shot has three layers and a conversation-starting backstory. You can also use overproof rum to make it a flaming shot. We’ll show you how to pour coffee liqueur, Irish cream, and orange liqueur just right to create a stacked shot that never bombs at parties.
Raise your hand if you always thought the B-52 shot was named after the bomber. Us too! Surprisingly, it’s not. Legend has it that the drink was first concocted in the late 1970s by bartender Peter Fich, who poured the drinks at Canada’s Banff Springs Hotel. Apparently he named all of his drinks after bands — and he must have had a thing for “Rock Lobster”.
But it gets even wilder — the band that gave birth to the B-52 shot actually owes its own origins to another flaming alcoholic beverage. The B-52s held their first jam session after the members shared a tropical Flaming Volcano cocktail at a Chinese restaurant in Athens, Georgia.
That’s not the end of the story for the B-52 shot, though. Arsenal F.C. forward Nicklas Bendtner re-launched it into popularity in 2009 when he changed his jersey number from 26 to 52 in the same season that he scored a heroic goal against Liverpool in the Carling Cup. Arsenal fans nicknamed him “the bomber” and toasted him with B-52 shots, which were briefly all the rage in North London.
You might already have all of the ingredients in your liquor cabinet: the brown layer is coffee liqueur (like Kahlúa), the milky white layer is Irish cream (like Bailey’s), and the orange layer is orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier or Cointreau). With those three distinct layers, the B-52 shot might seem like it would require a professional pourer — after all, this is a drink that’s not shaken, not stirred, but built.
But with the spoon trick and a steady hand, B-52 shots are easy to make yourself. We won’t ask you to recall the theory of specific gravity from science class, but if you’ve tried our Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Shot recipe, you might remember the rule of stacked shots: alcohol floats, and sugar sinks. Which is why this shot’s finishing touch — a spoonful of overproof rum — floats on top, waiting to be ignited (and then, please, blown out before you toss it back.)
- ½ oz coffee liqueur(such as Kahlúa)
- ½ oz Irish cream (such as Bailey’s)
- ½ oz orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
- 1 teaspoon overproof rum (such as Bacardi 151 or Lemon Hart 151)
- 2 oz shot glass
- Pour the coffee liqueur into the shot glass. Try to pour it straight into the bottom so that none is left on the sides of the shot glass.
- Hold a spoon upside-down in the shot glass so that the tip is just over the coffee liqueur and the handle of the spoon is resting on the rim of the shot glass. Pour the Irish cream slowly over the rounded back of the spoon so that it settles on top of the coffee liqueur.
- Using the same spoon technique, slowly pour the orange liqueur over the Irish cream.
- Spoon the overproof rum on top of the orange liqueur.
- Carefully light the overproof rum with the match. Don’t forget to blow out the flame before drinking!
- If some of the liqueurs mix, wait a moment before serving for them to settle and separate out.
Drink responsibly, or you may go down in flames.