Revolver

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Cocktail History

The Revolver is a modern cocktail that was created in the early 2000s by Jon Santer while in San Francisco, California. The recipe uses the Manhattan template but deepens it by adding the bold flavors of coffee and fiery citrus. Back in the day, it was originally made with Bulleit bourbon, hence its name, as well as coffee liqueur, simple syrup, and orange bitters, and it specifically calls for flamed citrus peel for the flavor, aroma, and flair it lends.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Bourbon: This is the base spirit. We used Buffalo Trace Bourbon (one of our favorites) because it has a distinct and sweeter taste of spices and brown sugar with notes of dark fruit, toffee, anise, and oak. 

Coffee Liqueur: This gives the drink its deep coffee flavor. We used Mr. Black Spirits Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur because, in our opinion, is the best coffee liqueur on the market. It’s much less sugary than others and has a bolder coffee flavor.

Simple Syrup: This is a sweetener made with sugar and water. You can buy bottled simple syrup in a store, but we made ours at home using Alex’s recipe because it tastes better fresh and is very easy to make.

Orange Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with orange and botanicals. They add citrus flavor and spice to the drink for more complexity. We used Angostura Orange Bitters because they offer the classic taste of bitter oranges, herbs, and spices.

Orange Twist: This is the garnish. It adds fresh citrus aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

The Revolver begins with singed citrus aromas and a bold, coffee-forward flavor complemented by the sweet spiciness of bourbon and a touch of orange zest, while the aftertaste goes down with bourbon’s sharp finish and leaves a lingering dark note of coffee in the throat.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We both found our version of the Revolver to be just a bit lacking; we didn’t use the exact brands recommended, and a drink with so few components doesn’t allow for much variation. That said, we both really appreciated the concept and will be playing around with different versions to try and find the perfect balance.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I unfortunately didn’t love this one as much as I expected to, but I think I would blame the ingredients we used for it. Without access to the St. George Spirits Coffee Liqueur used by the bartender, we really had no way of knowing the exact intended taste profile of his drink. As amazing as Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur is, it lends less sweetness than a typical coffee liqueur. Plus, the bourbon we used had a mashbill with about 10% less rye content than the Bulleit he calls for. Overall, I absolutely will revisit this drink, if not at least to do some riffs on it, but I think this iteration just wasn’t quite what the creator intended.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I have come a long way in my journey to enjoying a good whiskey drink. When we started tastings two years ago, I could barely drink the stuff, and now I do request a bourbon or rye-based cocktail on occasion. That said, I thought I would really enjoy this recipe, but it was just too heavy on the bourbon spice for me. Alex chalked it up to not using the brands listed in the book, but I don’t think this one is for me regardless. I think I still need more ingredients in my whiskey cocktails for balance.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

AuthorWinter DrinksPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Coffee Liqueur
 1 Bar Spoon Homemade Simple Syrup
 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Flamed Orange Twist

Method
1

Add bourbon, coffee liqueur, simple syrup, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 15-30 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Flame orange twist and add to glass as garnish.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Coffee Liqueur
 1 Bar Spoon Homemade Simple Syrup
 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Flamed Orange Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add bourbon, coffee liqueur, simple syrup, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 15-30 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Flame orange twist and add to glass as garnish.

Revolver

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More Coffee Cocktails

If you like this coffee-flavored cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

 The Marriage of Maguey: A mezcal and tequila cocktail made with coffee chocolate liqueur, orange curaçao, and agave syrup

 White Russian: A rum cocktail made with coffee liqueur, Luxardo Amaro Abano, amaretto liqueur, and half & half

 Sabueso Old Fashioned: A tequila and mezcal cocktail made with caramel coffee syrup, coffee and chocolate bitters, and an orange peel

 Mocha Rum Toddy: A rum cocktail made with coffee, dark crème de cacao, simple syrup, whipped cream, and cocoa powder

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