½ fluid ounce or 13ml coffee liqueur
½ fluid ounce or 13ml Irish cream liqueur
½ fluid ounce or 13ml triple sec




Standard Shot Glass (common)
Martini Glass (uncommon)

How to Prepare a B-52 Cocktail

Pour a coffee liqueur such as Kahlúa into a shot glass. Gently pour in the Irish cream liqueur so it floats on top of the coffee liqueur. Finally, Pour the Triple Sec or Grand Marnier so it floats on top of the other two.  If done properly you should create a perfect three-layered drink. This method of the preparation is called “building”, as opposed to blending or shaking, thus, B-52s are “built.” B-52s are usually served in a shot glass or sherry glass, although a heatproof glass is required when a “flaming B-52” is served. A stirrer should be provided with the drink although this is becoming uncommon.

The B-52 Cocktail Story

The origins of the B-52 cocktail are not certain, but one commonly sited source is that the drink was invented in 1977 by Peter Fich, the head bartender at the Banff Springs Hotel in Canada.  Fich named all of his creations after his much-loved bands, albums and songs.  Some say he named the cocktail after the famous and eclectic B52’s – a new wave pop group from the mid-1970s that took its name from the beehive hairstyles named after the nose cone of the B52 Bomber.

According to legend, one of Fich’s first customers owned restaurants in various cities in Alberta and liked the drink so much that he put it on the menu, leading to the perception that the B-52 originated at the Keg Steakhouse in Calgary, Alberta in 1977.

Another story claims that the drink actually originated during the Vietnam war at the infamous Saigon Saigon Bar at the Caravelle Hotel, while others claim it was a bar girl drink from Mimi’s club on Nguyen Hue Boulevard. Both stories claim that the original recipe used actual cream mixed with vodka and this was spooned on the top of the coffee and orange liqueur in the style of an Irish coffee.  The drink was named after the B52 Bombers that ran the Arclight raids because you never heard them coming until you were blown off your chair.


The B-52’s widespread popularity has resulted in many variations, each earning a slightly different designation (see variations below for a small sampling). Altogether, the drinks are referred to as the B-50 series of layered cocktails.