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Revolver Cocktail

The Revolver cocktail is a boozy bourbon bombshell with a caffeine kick. Why not pull the trigger and give the three-ingredient potent potable a try?

Revolver Cocktail with Grey Background from Above
Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our newly-discovered love for bourbon has taken us on a journey. But not just any journey. We’re talking about a bourbon journey.

To be clear, this journey doesn’t involve any planes, trains or automobiles. Unlike our journey to Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace in 2016, this one is all about researching, crafting and imbibing new-to-us bourbon cocktails.

The Revolver cocktail is our latest destination.

What Is The Revolver Cocktail?

Revolver Cocktail on Ledge
We savored the view while sipping this Revolver cocktail at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Revolver cocktail isn’t just the latest stop on our bourbon journey. It’s also a cocktail that packs a one-two punch…

First, the cocktail is pure alcohol. Its recipe doesn’t include any mixers and nor does it need any.

But that’s not all. The Revolver cocktail has an added bonus – caffeine.

Yes. This is a potent potable that will make you tipsy and keep you awake if you over-indulge. Better yet, just sip one or two and call it a night.

History Of The Revolver Cocktail

Revolver Cocktail with Black Background
Despite its similarity to classic bourbon cocktails, the Revolver cocktail is a relative baby. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Unlike many of our favorite bourbon drinks, the Revolver cocktail doesn’t qualify for classic status and doesn’t have a Kentucky home. Instead, it’s a modern creation with roots in San Francisco.

Our research has revealed that Jon Santer, a San Francisco bartender, created the Revolver while working at a bar called Bruno’s. The original recipe included just three ingredients – Bulleit bourbon, Tia Maria coffee liqueur and orange bitters. Being an over-achiever, he added a flamed orange twist garnish for good measure.

While Santer’s cocktail creation hasn’t become a standard yet, it’s a favorite among bartenders and mixology mavens. Who knows? Maybe its day will come with more of a whimper than a bang.

Ingredients

Revolver Cocktail Ingredients and Tools
The Revolver cocktail’s ingredient list includes bourbon, coffee liqueur and orange bitters. An orange twist adds the finishing touch. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Revolver cocktail make a powerful statement with just the following ingredients:

  • Bourbon
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Orange Bitters
  • Orange Peel (garnish)
  • Ice Cubes (for mixing)
Bottles of Tia Maria, Bulleit Bourbon and Orange Bitters
We used Tia Maria coffee liqueur, Bulleit bourbon and Angostura orange bitters to craft Revolver cocktails at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

For our recipe, we used Bulleit bourbon and Tia Maria coffee liqueur just like they did in the original Revolver cocktail recipe. Additionally, we used Angostura orange bitters as the drink’s third ingredient.

Bulleit Bourbon

Bottle of Bulleit Bourbon
We bought this bottle of Bulleit bourbon to craft Revolver cocktails. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

With a 45% ABV and generous amount of rye in its mix, Bulleit bourbon has a distinctive taste that works well in the Revolver recipe. After reading that the original recipe used this bourbon, we wanted to use it too.

Who are we kidding? The name synergy of Bulleit is too great to ignore. There’s also a bourbon out there called Gun Fighter but that one is produced in Colorado. Since we were able to find Bulleit at a Lisbon liquor store, you should be able to find a bottle where you live. If not, just use your favorite bourbon instead.

Discover our favorite bourbon cocktails.

Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur

Bottle of Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur
We also bought this bottle of Tia Maria coffee liqueur to craft Revolver cocktails. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Tia Maria is the coffee liqueur used in the original Revolver recipe. Produced in Italy and with roots in Jamaica, its ingredient list includes arabica coffee beans along with Jamaican rum, sugar and vanilla. Its ABV is 20%.

We bought a bottle of Tia Maria specifically to craft this cocktail and we’re glad we did. The tasty liqueur will surely make its way into future White Russians that we craft at home.

Orange Bitters

Orange Bitters Bottle
We already had this bottle of Angostura orange bitters in our liquor cabinet. Hooray! | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Since we previously bought a bottle of Angostura orange bitters to craft Bijou cocktails, we already knew that we liked its spicy orange flavor. Made with orange extracts and spices, a little bit goes a long way as these bitters have a 28% ABV.

How To Craft A Revolver Cocktail

Revolver Cocktail Mise en Place
Everything we used to craft Revolver cocktails fit on this board. The only thing missing is the ice which was chilling in the freezer. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

After assembling the ingredients, the first step is to measure the bourbon and coffee liqueur. We use a Japanese jigger in this and other recipes to secure accurate measurements and minimize spillage.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Measuring Bourbon for Revolver Cocktail Recipe
Measuring the Revolver’s two liquors was easy to do with our Japanese jigger. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The next step is to pour the two liquors into a mixing glass immediately after you measure each. We often use the base of our Boston shaker but any sturdy vessel will suffice.

Pouring Bourbon into Revolver Cocktail Recipe
Pleasant aromas hit us as we poured the two liquors into our shaker. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Immediately add two dashes of orange bitters directly into the mixing glass or, in our case, shaker.

Dashing Orange Bitters into Revolver Cocktail Recipe
Two dashes of Angostura orange bitters goes a long way in the Revolver cocktail recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

After adding a couple handfuls of small ice cubes, mix the cocktail until the three liquors are combined and chilled.

Stirring Revolver Cocktail Recipe
We mixed the three Revolver’s liquors for 20 seconds with a bar spoon. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Strain the cocktail into a glass. We like to use a small martini glass but a coupe glass would work well too.

Straining Revolver Cocktail
Straining the Revolver cocktail into a martini glass reveals its gorgeous amber color. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The final step is to add an orange twist garnish.

Crafted Revolver Cocktail with Liquor Bottles
An orange twist garnish completes the Revolver cocktail. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you’re hardcore, you can flame the orange peel as was done in the original Revolver recipe. As for us, we were satisfied without the fiery citrus show.

Alternatives

Revolver Cocktail Close Up
The Revolver cocktail is special but will it be your new favorite cocktail? | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We consider the Revolver cocktail recipe to be smashing as is but it may not hit your target. Here are some alternatives if that’s the case:

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Revolver cocktail?

The Revolver is a bourbon cocktail crafted with bourbon, coffee liqueur and orange bitters.

Where was the Revolver invented?

The Revolver was invented in San Francisco.

What are the ingredients in a Revolver cocktail?

Bourbon, Coffee Liqueur, Orange Bitters, Orange Peel (garnish) and Ice Cubes (for mixing)

Is the Revolver shaken or stirred?

The Revolver is stirred, not shaken.

What type of glass is best for the Revolver?

We like to serve this cocktail in a small martini glass but you could use a coupe glass instead.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Revolver Cocktail with White Background Centered
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4.84 from 6 votes

Revolver Recipe

The Revolver cocktail is both boozy and caffeinated. Pull the trigger and craft one in just five minutes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 267kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ ounce coffee liqueur
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • orange peel (garnish)
  • ice cubes (for mixing)

Instructions

  • Measure bourbon and coffee liqueur and pour each into a mixing glass.
  • Add two dashes or orange bitters.
  • Add small ice cubes and stir until the liquids are mixed and chilled – approximately 20 seconds.
  • Strain the liquid into a small martini or coupe glass.
  • Express the glass with an orange twist before adding it as garnish.

Estimated Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Sodium: 4mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g
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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased all ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: December 30, 2021

Recipe Rating




DoubleD-SF

Thursday 26th of May 2022

Pretty sure Bruno’s closed in the 90s.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Monday 30th of May 2022

I checked and it appears that our cited source is incorrect. Thanks for taking the time to let us know!

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