Home » B-52: A Classic Layered Shot Recipe

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Learn to make the fun layered shot, named the B-52 shot.

You might enjoy reading it with a drink, if so see our definitive guides to layered shots.

B-52: A Classic Layered Shot Recipe
B-52: A Classic Layered Shot Recipe

The B-52 is a classic layered shot that never goes out of style. Its distinct layers and delicious flavors make it a favorite among rum enthusiasts and partygoers. In this post, we’ll take you through the history of the B-52, provide you with an easy-to-follow recipe, and share some tips on mastering the art of creating this visually impressive shot. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make the perfect B-52 at home!

The History of the B-52

Origins of the B-52

The B-52 is believed to have originated in the late 1970s at the Alice Bradley Bar in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Named after the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber, this layered shot gained popularity due to its striking appearance and enticing flavors.

The Ingredients

The B-52 has three distinct layers: Kahlúa coffee liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream, and Grand Marnier orange liqueur. These ingredients create the perfect balance of flavors and showcase the bartender’s skill in layering liquids of different densities.

B-52 Recipe

Now that we know the history behind this classic shot, it’s time to learn how to make it at home. Here’s the B-52 recipe that you can easily follow:


  • 1 part Kahlúa coffee liqueur
  • 1 part Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 part Grand Marnier orange liqueur


  • Shot glass
  • Bar spoon or a small spoon
  • Pouring spout or a slow pourer (optional)


  1. Pour the Kahlúa: Fill the shot glass with Kahlúa coffee liqueur, filling it about one-third.
  2. Layer the Baileys: Hold the spoon with its back facing up, close to the surface of the Kahlúa. Slowly pour the Baileys Irish Cream over the spoon, allowing it to flow onto the Kahlúa layer. This creates a distinct layer on top of the Kahlúa.
  3. Layer the Grand Marnier: Repeat the same process with the Grand Marnier, pouring it gently over the spoon to create the third and final layer on top of the Baileys.

Voilà! You’ve now created the perfect B-52 layered shot. Enjoy the stunning visual presentation and delicious flavors of this classic cocktail.

Tips for Perfect Layering

To achieve the B-52’s signature layers, follow these helpful tips:

The Right Technique

  • Pour slowly: When layering the ingredients, pour them slowly to prevent them from mixing.
  • Use a spoon: Utilize a bar spoon or a small spoon to help disperse the liquid as you pour, reducing the chances of mixing the layers.
  • Chill the ingredients: Chilled ingredients are denser, making it easier to achieve clean layers. Store the liqueurs in the refrigerator or freezer before using them.

Experiment with Variations

Though the classic B-52 recipe calls for Kahlúa, Baileys, and Grand Marnier, there are several variations you can try:

  • B-51: Replace Grand Marnier with Frangelico hazelnut liqueur.
  • B-53: Use Sambuca instead of Baileys Irish Cream.
  • B-54: Swap out Grand Marnier for Amaretto almond liqueur.

Feel free to experiment and create your own unique B-52 variations!

Pairing B-52 with Food

The B-52’s rich flavors pair well with various desserts and snacks. Try enjoying your

B-52 shot with some of these tasty options:

  • Chocolate desserts: The coffee and chocolate notes of Kahlúa complement chocolate-based desserts like chocolate mousse, chocolate fondue, or a rich chocolate cake.
  • Fruit platters: The orange flavor from Grand Marnier pairs well with an assortment of fresh fruits, creating a refreshing and balanced palate.
  • Cheeseboards: The creaminess of Baileys Irish Cream can complement a selection of cheeses, especially soft or semi-soft varieties like brie or Camembert.

Experiment with different food pairings and discover what complements your B-52 shot best!

The Art of Layered Shots

Creating the perfect B-52 requires mastering the art of layering. If you’re interested in learning more about layered shots and expanding your bartending skills, check out our comprehensive guide on layered shots. This guide will teach you everything you need to know to create stunning layered cocktails and impress your friends at your next gathering.


Q: What are the ingredients for a B-52 shot?

A: The basic ingredients for a B-52 shot are:

  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

Q: How do I make a B-52 shot?

A: Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a B-52 shot:

  1. Pour the Kahlua into a shot glass.
  2. Slowly pour the Baileys Irish Cream on top of the Kahlua, being careful not to mix the layers.
  3. Slowly pour the Grand Marnier on top of the Baileys Irish Cream.
  4. Serve immediately.

Q: How long do B-52 shots last?

A: B-52 shots are best served immediately, but they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Q: What are some tips for making B-52 shots?

A: Here are some tips for making B-52 shots:

  • Use a small spoon to slowly pour the Baileys Irish Cream and Grand Marnier over the Kahlua. This will help to prevent the layers from mixing together.
  • Use chilled shot glasses to serve the B-52 shots. This will help to keep the shots cold and prevent them from melting.
  • Serve the B-52 shots immediately after making them. This will ensure that the layers are still distinct.

Q: What are some variations on the B-52 shot?

A: There are many variations on the B-52 shot. Some popular variations include:

  • The Flaming B-52: This variation is made by lighting the Grand Marnier layer on fire. Be careful when making this variation, as the Grand Marnier will be very hot.
  • The Blue Hawaiian: This variation uses Blue Curacao instead of Grand Marnier.
  • The Green Hornet: This variation uses Midori instead of Grand Marnier.

Q: What are some fun facts about the B-52 shot?

A: Here are some fun facts about the B-52 shot:

  • The B-52 shot is named after the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, a large, long-range, heavy bomber.
  • The B-52 shot was created in the 1970s by a bartender at a bar in Seattle, Washington.
  • The B-52 shot is a popular shot at bars and clubs worldwide.
  • The B-52 shot is high-proof, so it should be consumed in moderation.

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