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.
B-52 Shot Video
Why Do The Layers Separate?
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. The order of the stack is determined by the sugar content of each liquor. Kahlua has the most sugar so it sits on the bottom.
Where Did the B-52 Shot Get Its Name?
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.
Can I make a Flaming B-52 Shot?
Yes - just use a teaspoon of overproof rum like Bacardi 151 or Lemon Hart 151 over the orange liqueur layer. Light with a match. Blow out the flame before drinking.
- 1 2oz Shot Glass
- ½ oz Kahlúa
- ½ oz Baileys Irish Cream
- ½ oz Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 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.
Flaming B-52 Shot (Optional)
- (optional) Spoon the overproof rum on top of the orange liqueur.
- (optional) Carefully light the overproof rum with the match. Don’t forget to blow out the flame before drinking!
- Use the back of a spoon to pour over so the liqueurs stay near the top when creating the layers.
- If some of the liqueurs mix, wait a moment for them to settle and separate out before serving.
With three 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.
Please drink responsibly.