Online, you’ll find quite a few variations on the B-52 shot cocktail. The classic recipe layers Kahlua, then Baileys Irish Cream, and then Grand Marnier on top. 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.
Check out our guide to layering cocktails, with photos and detailed instructions. If you think you can’t layer a cocktail, think again. It really just takes a little practice. And every time you fail, the drink still ends up delicious.
If you don’t like the spoon layering technique, try using pourer spouts in your bottles. These make it very easy to control the stream of liquid coming from your bottle, so you can pour very slowly. Put the pourer against the side of the glass, and let the liquid slowly pour. With a little practice, you’ll be able to layer beautifully with this technique.
Because it’s all liqueurs, this is a lightweight cocktail, so you can afford to have more than one. You can even adjust the amounts to make a bigger drink of it – just pour each ingredient in equal amounts, using a rocks glass or a martini glass.
Note that some versions of this recipe substitute amaretto for the Grand Marnier, which changes the flavor profile of this drink. It removes the orange flavor and emphasizes the caramel notes. It also changes the order of the layers.
In the picture below, I made it with Baileys, Kahlua and Amaretto. The Amaretto went to the bottom, the Kahlua floated on top of that, and the Baileys floated on top of the Kahlua.
And here it is again, but with the classic Kahlua, Baileys and Grand Marnier. The Kahlua goes to the bottom, the Baileys floats on top of it once again, and the Grand Marnier floats on top of the Baileys.
I like this one better with Grand Marnier, but your mileage may vary. The orange notes add something nice and surprising to the mocha notes. That little bit of citrus makes it different.