The B-52 is a layered cocktail consisting of coffee liqueur, Irish cream, and an orange liqueur.


What is B-52?

The B-52 is a layered cocktail consisting of coffee liqueur, Irish cream, and an orange liqueur. Due to their different densities, the drink appears in three distinctly visible layers. While Kahlua, Bailey’s and Grand Marnier are the most common liquors used, other brands may also be used. The shot is a subtle mix of the varied flavors of coffee, orange, cream and whiskey that blend together nicely.

  • Also, it has a caramel-like taste with hints of orange.
  • It works well as an after dinner drink or even as a dessert. 

Some popular layered shots are:

  • B-52
  • Butterball
  • Nutty Irishman
  • Nutty Fix
  • Flaming Dr. Pepper
  • Candy Corn
  • Superman Shot
  • Fourth of July
  • Irish Flag
  • Irish Frog
  • Jelly Bean

Origin of b-52

This shot is of Canadian origin and is believed to have been invented in 1977 by Peter Fich, head bartender at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. He was a fan of the band of the same name and created and named the drink in their honor. The band itself was named after a beehive-style hairstyle that they sported, resembling an old B-52 Stratofortress bomber, that has been active since 1955. Another story behind the shot is that it was first invented in the 1960s in Alice’s Restaurant in Malibu, and the colors of the shot resemble the flames of a downed plane.


Nutritional profile for the B-52 (1 shot):

Furthermore, coffee liqueur contains decent amounts of potassium.  In addition, the whiskey in Irish cream contains antioxidants, which can help prevent heart diseases. Not to mention, it provides calcium, phosphorus, healthy fats, folate, iron, as well as vitamins A and C. Also, whiskey contains ellagic acid, which may help prevent cancer

Nonetheless, overconsumption of alcohol can lead to several health problems, including affecting the brain’s functioning patterns and general lowering of immunity. Regular consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of heart disease, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancer, as well as obesity, depression, and aging. It is best to consume this shot responsibly and in moderation.

Commercial production

To prepare the B-52 cocktail, the main ingredients required are coffee liqueur, Irish cream liqueur, and orange liqueur. For the coffee liqueur, Kahlua is the best choice. However, other brands like Tia Maria and Sheridan’s are also acceptable. Grand Marnier is the most popular choice for the orange liqueur, but it may be replaced with triple sec or Cointreau. Also, Bailey’s is the most common choice for the Irish cream liqueur.

First, the coffee liqueur is poured into a chilled shot glass. To layer the next ingredient, a spoon is placed on top of the coffee liqueur and the Irish cream is poured over the spoon. Then, the orange liqueur is poured in the same way over the spoon. This will give three distinct layers.

B-52 Recipes

This is a layered drink commonly consumed as a shot. There are several variations of this drink. Here are some popular recipes:

FDA regulations

All alcohol related products are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the US. Liqueur is defined as flavored spirits mixed with fruits, flowers, plants, or juices. There is no specific standard of identity for coffee liqueur or Irish cream. Triple Sec and Curacao both fall under the liqueur or cordial class and are defined as orange flavored liqueur or cordial.


Arranz, Sara et al. “Wine, beer, alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Nutrients vol. 4,7 (2012): 759-81. doi:10.3390/nu4070759, 

Is it time to rethink how much you drink?, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School,