The Revolver Cocktail is a serious cocktail mixing coffee liqueur and orange bitters with bourbon. The perfect winter in front of the fire libation.
When this Bourbon and Coffee Liqueur Cocktail – The Revolver was originally introduced by San Francisco bartender Jon Santer around 2003, it was made with Bulleit Bourbon (play on words…Bulleit, Revolver). Bulleit is a rye heavy bourbon and the drink combines it with coffee liqueur with a nice spicy accent from orange bitters.
Santer used Tia Maria, a Jamaican coffee liqueur; I’ve simply pulled Kahlua from my bar. Each coffee liqueur has some differences so try a couple to find your favorite. I love Galliano Ristretto from Italy that’s made with espresso beans, and sometimes I’ll use my Homemade Coffee Liqueur but my stash was gone so Kahlua it was.
If you’ve ever spiked a cup of coffee with a splash of bourbon, you’ll know the flavor profile even if the whiskey rules in this cocktail. The orange bitters and the oil from an orange peel serve to brighten the drink. If you love bourbon like I do and occasionally crave a really grownup cocktail, this could be a real find for you.
This cocktail follows the rule of ‘not shaken but stirred,’ usually without a plethora of ingredients, most notably juice, a cocktail is stirred to get cold in a bar mixer in lieu of shaking it in a cocktail shaker. Plus I love pulling out this pretty piece. 🙂
I admit it; I have an obsession with cocktail glassware; don’t you love that mixing glass? It’s important to have a glass like this for a cocktail like the Revolver; definitely of the stirred variety of cocktail. There is no reason to vigorously shake these simple ingredients; just stir gently until chilled and pour into a glass.
I do love bourbon, I most often use it in a concoction with more fruit and sugar involved. The drier, spicier flavor of rye whiskey though is what is thought to work best in many bourbon forward drinks including the many variations of Manhattans (I’ve put three on this site along with a Manhattan Bundt Cake!) and used to include the Old Fashioned (here’s three versions of Old Fashioneds) too.
While Santer may have started the Revolver using Rye Whiskey, Bourbon tends to be a bit sweeter and quite honestly maybe more to my liking and I have no problems using it instead of Rye. So don’t let the rye business stop you…either one makes for an excellent cocktail.
I reached into my bar for some Basil Hayden. I originally bought Basil Hayden as a suggestion from a friend when she gave me a recipe for a Pumpernickel and Rye Bread Dressing with Bourbon for our Thanksgiving turkey. She was a manager at a local Total Liquor Store and such a wealth of information for me; I always trusted her advice and this bourbon has become one of my favorites…I’ve loved it ever since.
This is the type of cocktail I love for a slow evening, sitting by the fire, with time for sipping and to really enjoy the flavors. Lord knows I love my fruity drinks but there are times when something with a bit more sophistication rules and for some reason, that’s during the heavier and slower winter months.
If it’s February in Colorado we have tons of snow and had a big storm dump on us yesterday; you can guess what I’ll be doing tonight, right?
PIN IT! ‘The Revolver Cocktail’
The Revolver - Bourbon and Coffee Liqueur Cocktail
- 4 ounces bourbon a rye-heavy bourbon such as Bulleit, Buffalo Trace or Basil Hayden is recommended
- 1 ounce coffee liqueur
- 4 dashes orange bitters
- 2 Wide strips of orange zest
- Chill two coupe or lowball cocktail glasses.
- Combine bourbon, coffee liqueur, and orange bitters in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
- Twist orange peel to express oils over drink and add as a garnish.