Layered B52 Shot Recipe 

Published May 23, 2022
Three shots of B-52 cocktail



  1. In a shot glass, add coffee liqueur.
  2. Layer the Irish cream by slowly pouring down the back of a bar spoon.
  3. Add final layer by slowly pouring orange liqueur down the back of a bar spoon.

Variations and Substitutions

There are several ways to build a B52 shot and its handful of variations. Consider some of these as you learn the ropes of this shooter.

  • Craft your own coffee liqueur at home, but infuse it with other flavors such as chocolate, orange, or hazelnut.
  • With so many different flavors of Irish cream on the market, you can consider using almond, red velvet, vanilla, or espresso.
  • For a B51 shot, use hazelnut liqueur instead of orange liqueur, or use almond liqueur instead for a B54.
  • Skip the Irish cream in your riff. A B53 uses sambuca or anise liqueur instead of Irish cream, and a B57 calls for peppermint liqueur in place of the cream. You might even try subbing Galliano for the sambuca to create a slightly sweeter shot.
  • Carefully layer and craft your B52 shot into a B156 cocktail by serving in a rocks glass without ice. Triple your ingredients and carefully and very slowly add each additional layer the way you would with a B52 shot.
  • For a boozier coffee base, make a coffee-infused bourbon or vodka with coffee beans and use in place of the coffee liqueur.


The B52 shot doesn't have a garnish, as its layers are stunning enough, and why would you want to pull focus from those? But if you need a garnish in your life, there are a few ideas to pick from. For a sweeter shot, rub the rim of the shot glass with a lemon wedge, then dip the shot glass in a bowl of sugar or with the sugar on a saucer. Or you can echo the orange notes by adding an orange slice or wheel or sweeten the deal with a candied orange.

About the B52 Shot

The history behind the origin of the B52 shot is as clear as the Irish cream it calls for. The most common story cites a bartender in Alberta, Canada. Working in the Banff Springs Hotel, Peter Fich had a reputation for naming his cocktails after music, bands, songs, or albums. In this case, Fich opted to name his newly crafted shot after the B-52's, a popular band from the United States. The B52 shooter may not be directly named for the Boeing B-52 bomber, but it still is in a roundabout way. The B-52's named themselves for the popular beehive hairstyle that, you guessed it, resembled the nose of the B-52 bomber.

Alternatively, you may find that the Keg Steakhouse is credited for the B52 shot's creation, as lore says that its owner was so smitten with the shot he demanded it be added to his drink menus immediately. The owner wasn't the only one to love this shot, as there are now approximately ten popular variations on this shot.

Take Flight With a B52

Make no mistake, even though this shot may have you thinking of airplanes, you'll be bopping along to some good music (who can resist Love Shack?) when you enjoy the B52 shot. But it's of no difference if you're a fan of the band or an aviation geek when you're enjoying this shot. It's a drink that'll charm anyone.

Layered B52 Shot Recipe