Online, you’ll find quite a few variations on the B-52. The classic recipe layers Kahlua, then Bailey’s Irish Cream, and then Grand Marnier on top.
This drink is more about the layering technique than the specific recipe (a whole lotta liqueurs are going to taste good together like this).
- 1/2 ounce Kahlua (or Tia Maria)
- 1/2 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier (some people recommend amaretto instead – it’s also much cheaper than GM!)
Pour the Kahlua into a, then layer the Bailey’s, and then the Grand Marnier.
Check out our guide to layering cocktails, with photos, detailed instructions and a video.
To get the horizontal rainbow effect seen in drinks like the B-52, the first thing you need is to know which of the ingredients in your recipe are heavier than the others (here’s a helpful chart). The heaviest ingredient goes in first, followed by the second heaviest, and so on. In the B-52′s case, Kahlua is the heaviest, followed by Bailey’s, then Grand Marnier. After pouring in the Kahlua, grab a chilled spoon, turn it upside down, and put it in the glass, up against one side of the glass. Now pour the Bailey’s slowly onto the back of the spoon so it can run off even more slowly. This makes it land gently on top of the Kahlua and float. Repeat the process with the Grand Marnier.
This technique may take some practice, but remember: the only “trick” to it is to pour as slowly as you can onto the back of that spoon.
The flavor of a B-52 is described by some bartenders as a little like caramel. It’s a subtle blend of coffee, orange, cream and whiskey flavors in which no single flavor stands out much above the others. The B-52 really deserves to be savored alone – it’s a dessert all on its own. But if you want a snack to go along with it, try a chocolate coissant, a slice of angelfood cake, or cheesecake.