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10 Astonishing Facts About The Revolver Cocktail

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The Revolver is a modern classic cocktail that has been gaining popularity over recent years. Created in 2004 at a San Francisco bar, this after-dinner bourbon drink packs a punch with its combination of whiskey, coffee liqueur, and flaming orange garnish.

While the Revolver keeps things simple with only 4 main ingredients, its blend of flavors is complex and unique. The cocktail’s name fittingly evokes the imagery of a revolver firearm, as it delivers a powerful boozy experience.

Read on for 10 astonishing facts about the origins, ingredients, and legacy of the Revolver cocktail. We’ll cover everything from its James Bond-esque inspirations to customization tips and why it delivers a jolt of caffeine. This strong, coffee-flavored bourbon drink has earned its place in the neo-classic cocktail canon.

1. Created in San Francisco in 2004

The Revolver was created by bartender Jon Santer in 2004 while working at Bruno’s bar in San Francisco. He later brought the drink with him when he moved to Bourbon & Branch.

2. Inspired by James Bond

The Revolver’s combination of bourbon and coffee is quite similar to a drink James Bond invented in the 1981 novel “For Your Eyes Only.” Bond’s version was a 3:1 ratio of bourbon to coffee, served at room temperature.

3. Only 4 ingredients

The Revolver keeps things simple with just 4 core ingredients:

  • bourbon
  • coffee liqueur
  • orange bitters
  • an orange twist garnish

The minimalist recipe lets the flavors shine.

4. Named after a gun

The name “Revolver” likens the drink to a revolver firearm, which packs a punch just like this strong cocktail. It was specifically created for the new-at-the-time Bulleit “Bourbon” – hence the gun name.

5. Flaming orange twist garnish

Part of the Revolver’s appeal is the flaming orange twist garnish, where oils are squeezed from an orange peel through a flame into the cocktail. This showmanship helped popularize the drink.

6. Riff on a Manhattan

The Revolver is essentially a bourbon Manhattan with coffee liqueur instead of sweet vermouth, creating an after-dinner version.

7. Highly customizable

While the original used Bulleit bourbon and Tia Maria coffee liqueur, the Revolver works well with most bourbons and coffee liqueurs. Feel free to experiment!

8. Gaining modern classic status

In recent years the Revolver has been called an “indisputable modern classic” by Robb Report and is increasingly regarded as a neo-classic cocktail.

9. Pre-dinner or nightcap drink

The Revolver is commonly enjoyed as an after-dinner drink or nightcap. However, its flavors also work well as an aperitif before dinner.

10. Caution: caffeine content!

With a slug of coffee liqueur, the Revolver does contain a good amount of caffeine. Enjoy, but don’t accidentally over-caffeinate!

Revolver Cocktail Recipe

Revolver Cocktail Recipe

The Revolver is a modern classic cocktail that packs a punch. Invented in 2004 by San Francisco bartender Jon Santer, this after-dinner drink adds a jolt of coffee liqueur to the traditional Manhattan template. The result is a crowd-pleasing bourbon cocktail with rich, warming flavors and a show-stopping garnish.


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 0.5 oz coffee liqueur
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 orange peel for garnish


Add the bourbon, coffee liqueur, and bitters to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. Express the oils from the orange peel over the drink by squeezing the peel near an open flame. Discard peel before serving.


While the original Revolver featured Bulleit bourbon, Santer recommends using any quality bourbon you have on hand. For a spicier profile, choose one with a high rye content. Budget-friendly bourbons like Evan Williams Black work well, as do small batch brands like Elijah Craig.

Coffee Liqueur

The coffee liqueur adds sweetness and rich flavor. KahlĂșa is the most widely available brand, but try experimenting with small-batch coffee liqueurs from local distillers.

The Flame

The flamed orange peel gives the Revolver its smoky, aromatic finish. For full effect, hold a lit match between the peel and the cocktail’s surface, then squeeze the peel to express the citrus oils through the flame.

Revolver Cocktail Variations


The Revolver has secured its place among the great bourbon and whiskey cocktails. This neo-classic after-dinner drink delivers a complex blend of bold flavors including coffee, orange, and of course bourbon whiskey.

With its origins in a 2004 San Francisco bar, the Revolver cocktail has rapidly risen to fame over the past two decades thanks to its memorable presentation and balanced, customizable recipe. Just be cautious of the caffeine content in each Revolver – too many and you might have trouble sleeping!

So next time you’re looking for a strong, spirit-forward drink with some caffeine kick, consider the modern classic Revolver cocktail. The flaming orange garnish and coffee liqueur truly set this bourbon whiskey drink apart.

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