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Old Fashioned Cocktails

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When was the B52 Bomber Invented

The B-52 Bomber cocktail is believed to have been created in the late 1970s or early 1980s. However, there is no definitive information on its exact origin or who invented it.

The cocktail is named after the B-52 Stratofortress, a long-range strategic bomber aircraft used by the United States Air Force since the 1950s. The B-52 Bomber cocktail is a layered shot that typically consists of Kahlúa (coffee liqueur), Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur.

What You Need

  • Kahlua coffee liqueur
  • Baileys Irish Cream
  • Grand Marnier orange liqueur or vodka
  • 151cubita rum (optional)

How to Make a B52 Bomber

  • Fill the shot glass with ice to chill it.
  • Pour the Kahlua coffee liqueur into the shot glass.
  • Using the back of a spoon or a cocktail layering tool, gently layer the Baileys Irish Cream on top of the Kahlua.
  • Using the spoon or layering tool again, layer the Grand Marnier or Cointreau on top of the Baileys.
  • Ignite the top layer of Grand Marnier or Cointreau with a lighter or match (optional).
  • Blow out the flame and drink the B52 Bomber in one smooth motion, without stirring the layers together.

Note: Be careful when handling fire and make sure to blow out the flame before drinking. You can also skip the flaming step if you prefer. Additionally, you can use a pre-chilled shot glass instead of adding ice to chill it.

Tip For Making a B52 Bomber

  • To make the layers more distinct and visually appealing, use a spoon to gently float each layer on top of the previous layer. You can achieve this by holding the spoon just above the surface of the previous layer and pouring the next layer slowly over the back of the spoon. The slower the pour, the better the layering effect will be.
  • If you’re having difficulty getting the layers to separate, try chilling each liqueur beforehand. This will make them thicker and more viscous, which can help prevent them from mixing together.
  • Some people prefer to light the Grand Marnier layer on fire before serving the B52 Bomber, which can create an impressive visual effect. However, please note that this is an advanced technique and should only be attempted by experienced bartenders who are familiar with fire safety procedures.
  • Finally, when drinking the B52 Bomber, be sure to sip it slowly and avoid stirring the layers together. The flavors of each liqueur are meant to be enjoyed separately, so take your time and savor each layer individually.

Frequently asked questions

What type of glass is best for serving a B52 Bomber?

A shot glass is the traditional glassware used for serving a B52 Bomber cocktail. It’s important to use a clear glass so that you can see the distinct layers of each liqueur.

Can I make a B52 Bomber ahead of time?

It’s not recommended to make a B52 Bomber cocktail ahead of time, as the layers may begin to mix together over time. It’s best to prepare the cocktail just before serving.

Can I substitute any of the liqueurs in a B52 Bomber?

While the traditional B52 Bomber recipe calls for Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Grand Marnier, you can experiment with different liqueurs to create your own version of the cocktail. However, keep in mind that changing the ingredients may affect the taste and appearance of the cocktail.

How do I prevent the layers from mixing together?

To prevent the layers from mixing together, it’s important to pour each liqueur slowly and gently over the back of a spoon. This will create a barrier between the layers and help keep them separate.

What do the different layers represent in the B52 Bomber cocktail?

The Kahlua layer represents the ground, the Bailey’s layer represents the clouds, and the Grand Marnier layer represents the fire and destruction of the bomb.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the B52 Bomber cocktail?

Yes, you can substitute non-alcoholic versions of Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Grand Marnier to make a non-alcoholic version of the cocktail.

Can I light the B52 Bomber on fire?

Some bartenders like to light the B52 Bomber on fire for added visual appeal. However, please note that this is an advanced technique and should only be attempted by experienced bartenders who are familiar with fire safety procedures.


Old Fashioned Cocktails

B52 Bomber

Yield: more cocktail
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

The B52 bomber, whose name comes from the American B-52 bomber during the Vietnam War, which was said to have dropped a large number of incendiary bombs in the battlefield with B52 bombers! This may also be the reason why this cocktail uses the way of ignition and burning. But unlike the inherent image of a bomber, this cocktail is known for its soft, sweet flavor. Light the upper liquor, insert the straw, and take a sip! You'll feel that hot rush of vodka down your throat and down to your stomach, followed by a rich, creamy coffee flavor rising up... it' s a very interesting cocktail!


  • ⅓ oz coffee liqueur
  • ⅓ oz baileys
  • ⅓ oz vodka
  • 2 drops of 151cubita rum


Add the above ingredients to the shot glass in sequence, pouring slowly to achieve a clear, distinct layer of each two ingredients. Just light the top layer of 151cubita rum and drink with a straw inserted into the bottom.


Note: It's important to pour the layers slowly and gently to ensure they do not mix together.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Robin Lee

Robin is author, photographer, and cocktail enthusiast. He has a passion for life, love of mixology, and enjoys exploring the great outdoors. Robin’s cocktails are both visually stunning and bursting with flavor. He’s always pushing the boundaries of mixology and loves to experiment with unique ingredients and techniques. With Robin’s guidance, you can learn the art of mixology and create cocktails that are sure to impress.

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