Cocktail drinks are all about spectacle, and nowhere is this more evident than in the world of cocktail shots.
Unlike most cocktails, which are long drinks and can take someone on quite a lengthy flavour journey, a cocktail shot has only a few seconds and 25ml to make a big impression with its flavour, so a lot of cocktail shots will make an impact with unique looks and quite potent aftertastes.
This is certainly the case with one of the earliest and most popular layered cocktail shots out there, one with a mysterious origin and an even more mysterious name.
The B-52 is a layered shot consisting of a coffee liqueur (typically either Kahlúa or Tia Maria), an Irish cream such as Baileys and finally an orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, all very carefully layered on top of each other.
Because the three ingredients are completely different densities, with patience, a cold bar spoon and a steady hand, a bartender can make three distinct layers, each of which hits your tastebuds at different times. A standard shaken variation is also available although it is far less common.
Whilst an orange coffee shot is itself unusual and unique, most people are immediately drawn to the name. Cocktails commonly have unique origins for names but naming a coffee cocktail after the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, a plane that could potentially end the world, is somewhat unusual.
Most people like to speculate and try to work out how the ingredients of a cocktail connect to the name, but in this case, it is important to clarify that the B-52, in this case, is not the intercontinental bomber plane but instead is a reference to the B-52s, a new wave band most famous for the unusual song Love Shack.
The connection between the cocktail and the band that composed Rock Lobster is the head bartender of Banff Springs Hotel, Peter Fich. He named all of his cocktails after his favourite bands, songs and albums, and so named the cocktail after what would have been an underground act at the time.
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