The B-52 Shot

B-52 Shots

 The Spruce

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
178 Calories
0g Fat
25g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 serving
Amount per serving
Calories 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The B-52 is one of the most popular shot drinks. It is a triple-layered drink that is perfect for practicing your layering skills and a ton of fun at parties.

The original B-52 shot is reported to have been created sometime in the 1970's. This was a decade of layering Galliano atop the Harvey wallbanger and multi-liquor icons like the Long Island iced tea. Out of this same era came the popular round of shots collectively known as the B-50s.

The B-51, B-52, B-53, and B-54 all have three things in common:

  • An equal pour of liquor, 1/3 of a shot glass for each ingredient. The exact amount will depend on the size of the shot glass and they look best as tall shots.
  • Kahlua and Baileys are almost always used, the third ingredient varies.
  • Layered in the order the ingredients are given (heaviest liquor on the bottom, lightest on the top).

Kahlua, Baileys, and Grand Marnier are the stars of the B-52. These three liqueurs combine to create a delightful taste, with a little citrus to accent the coffee cream.


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Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    B-52 Shot ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Pour the coffee liqueur into a shot glass.

    Coffee liqueur in a shot glass
    The Spruce
  3. Irish cream liqueur floating on espresso in shot glass
    The Spruce
  4. Float the Grand Marnier on top of the second layer.

    The Grand Marnier adds another layer to the B-52 shot
    The Spruce 
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • Don't want the layers? Shake the ingredients and strain them into the glass.
  • Some B-52 recipes replace the Irish cream with amaretto.
  • Tia Maria is a popular substitution for Kahlua.
  • Cointreau is a popular substitution for Grand Marnier.
  • Create a creamy sipping cocktail by increasing the ingredients to fit a cocktail glass (keep the same 1/3 ratio). Serve it either layered or shaken.

It is possible to use different brands than those suggested, but your layers may not be as well-defined as it is with these three. While most liqueurs of the same style have a similar specific gravity, it is not a guarantee. Irish cream is the only one that should be very similar no matter which brand you choose.

Flaming B-52 Shot

Once you learn how to make a B-52, you can take it to the next level. By adding just a little bit of overproof rum on top of the original drink, you can easily make a flaming B-52.

As long as your Grand Marnier is at room temperature, it is also possible to light the B-52 without the rum.

Flaming B-52 shot
The Spruce
  1. Pour the B-52 a little shorter than normal, leaving extra space in the glass.

  2. Add a small amount (about 3 drops) of 151-proof rum on the top.

  3. Light the shot on fire.

  4. Extinguish before drinking.

Be careful when playing with fire in your bar. Accidents happen, so make sure hair and clothing are out of the way, you don't pour too much rum, and that everyone around you knows there is about to be fire. If you've had a bit too much to drink already, skip the fire and save it for another day.

The B-50 Shot Family

Change things up for these other B-50 drinks. Layer the ingredients in the order given.

  • The B-51 Shot: Equal pours of Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, and Frangelico.

  • The B-53 Shot: The B-53 shot typically includes an anise-flavored liqueur like sambuca or absinthe. For example Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, and sambuca. They're some of the most potent shots of the B-50 family, both in taste and alcohol content, depending on what alcohol you choose to use.

  • The B-54 Shot: Equal pours of Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, and tequila.

How Strong Are B-50 Shots?

If you were to pour any of these shots with the call brands and kept that third ingredient at 80 proof, you can estimate how strong they are. On average, the layered B-52 is about 26 percent ABV (52 proof)

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