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The B 52

The B 52 shot might make you think of the Air Force or fighter jets, but its name is actually paying homage to the iconic rock group the B-52s, famous for their song “Rock Lobster.” This cocktail is not a simple shake-and-strain, but instead takes some artistry to achieve the perfect layered look. Consisting of coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur, and Grand Marnier, the unique blend has the robust taste and bold feel of a luxe cocktail in the form of a creamy and delicious shot.


The B 52: Hailing from the Great White North

The origin story for the 52 begins in snowy Canada: Banff, Alberta, to be exact. Peter Fich was the head bartender at the Banff Springs Hotel, and he was also the creator of many cocktails. Every single drink he created, he named after his favorite rock groups and hit songs, and this tasty, layered shot was no exception.


While this drink does come in a shot glass, it’s not meant to be slammed. Technically, it’s considered a nightcap, and the traditional way to enjoy a nightcap is to have a glass after dinner. It’s meant to be savored and enjoyed slowly rather than slammed back. Since it’s made from liqueur, it has a lighter alcohol content, so it’s totally fine to enjoy one of these… or maybe two!



B 52 Shot

The ingredients in this shot are quite simple. To start, you'll need a coffee-flavored liqueur, like Kahlua or Tia Maria. The coffee liqueur gets layered first, as the sweet and syrupy liquid is the densest of the three. Then, the Irish cream liqueur is gently layered on top. Most choose Bailey's, but Carolan's or any other type of Irish cream liqueur will suffice. Finally, top with Grand Marnier, or another popular variation, Cointreau.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Author My Bartender


  • 1/3 Oz Coffee liqueur
  • 1/3 Oz Irish cream liqueur
  • 1/3 Oz Grand Marnier liqueur


  • Gather your ingredients and a shot glass
  • Pour the coffee liqueur into the bottom of the glass
  • Gently layer the Irish cream liqueur on top
  • Finally, top it off with another layer of Grand Marnier
  • Serve immediately and enjoy


How to Master Layering a Cocktail

There’s a trick to layering spirits to transform a simple cocktail into a veritable work of art. You need three things to master the art of layering: a spoon, patience, and a steady hand. You also need to determine the order of the liquids you’re layering from densest to lightest.


After you’ve poured your bottom spirit, grab a bar spoon (or a regular spoon). Then, turn it upside down—concave part facing upwards—and press the nose against the glass to steady your hand. Slowly pour the liquid so it dribbles off the spoon into the glass. Be gentle, avoid splashing or mixing, and you’ll be left with a gorgeous drink that looks amazing and tastes even better.


It may be a shot, but this drink has the chops to stand up to any other mixed drink or cocktail. The mix of three liqueurs makes this drink perfectly light, perfectly balanced, and amazingly delicious, too. Making this shot is not as simple as a shake-and-pour; it requires concentration and a steady hand. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to drink this shot anytime you’re in the mood for something creamy and delicious.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by My Bartender

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