The Revolver cocktail is a spin on the Manhattan starring bourbon and Tia Maria coffee liqueur. Top it off with a flamed orange twist!

Revolver Cocktail

Here’s a drink to impress all your friends: the Revolver cocktail! This spin on the Manhattan stars bourbon paired with Tia Maria, a coffee liqueur, instead of the standard sweet vermouth. It makes an intriguing drink: sweet vanilla and oak notes as you start the sip, with a finish of lingering bittersweet coffee. The best part? Garnish it with a flamed orange twist to insert an aroma of burnt orange. It’s truly stunning. Here’s how to make it!

What’s in a Revolver cocktail?

The Revolver cocktail is a variation on the Manhattan invented in 2004 by bartender Jon Santer at Bruno’s in San Francisco. He created it specifically for Bulleit Bourbon, hence the name (get it?). Instead of the standard sweet vermouth, Santer substituted Tia Maria, a coffee liqueur that’s like a more sophisticated version of Kahlua. He added a flamed orange peel for theatrics, and it became an instant success. The ingredients for a Revolver cocktail are:

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Tia Maria (or other coffee liqueur)
  • Orange bitters
  • Orange peel

All you have to do? Mix the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, and strain it into a glass. If you’re ready for drama, keep reading…

How to flame an orange peel

What’s a flamed orange peel? Squeezing an orange peel to express the oils is a classic garnish for drinks like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, which adds a citrus perfume as an aroma when you lift the glass to take a drink. Do this while holding a match next to the orange peel? You’ll see an instant spark and it adds a beautiful burnt orange perfume to the drink.

Here’s how to flame an orange peel for the Revolver cocktail! As always, make sure to be careful when playing with fire:

  • Cut a piece of orange peel in a 2-inch circle.
  • Hold the peel about 2 inches from the cocktail glass and warm it with a lit match.
  • Quickly squeeze the peel to express the oils, causing it to flame briefly as the oil hits the glass.

About Tia Maria

Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur that’s absolutely worth adding to your collection. Here’s a bit more about it:

  • Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur invented in Jamaica in the 1940’s, made with coffee beans, Jamaican rum, vanilla and sugar. It’s now distributed by the Pernod Ricard company and manufactured in Italy.
  • What does Tia Maria taste like? It’s like a sophisticated spin on Kahlua: very sweet with bitter coffee and strong vanilla notes. Compared to Kahlua, it has more depth and a stronger coffee flavor.
  • What ABV is Tia Maria? It is 20% ABV.

More drinks with Tia Maria

What else can you make with Tia Maria, once you’ve grabbed a bottle for the Revolver cocktail? Here are a few more tasty coffee liqueur drinks:

When to serve a Revolver cocktail

The Revolver cocktail is a sophisticated and complex bourbon cocktail. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Revolver cocktail

Revolver Cocktail


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Revolver cocktail is a spin on the Manhattan starring bourbon and Tia Maria coffee liqueur. Top it off with a flamed orange twist!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey (like Bulleit)
  • 1 ounce Tia Maria* (or other coffee liqueur like Kahlua or Sheridan’s)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Instructions

  1. Combine the bourbon, Tia Maria and orange bitters in a mixing glass (or cocktail shaker) with a handful of ice. Stir until cold, then strain into cocktail glass.
  2. Express the orange peel onto the glass by squeezing it to release the oils. Or if desired, flame the orange peel (taking fire precautions as necessary!): Cut a piece of orange peel in a 2-inch circle. Hold the peel about 2 inches from the cocktail glass and warm it with a lit match. Then, quickly squeeze the peel to express the oils, causing it to flame briefly as the oil hits the glass.

Notes

*To convert to ounces, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons. The classic recipe has ½ ounce Tia Maria, but we prefer a stronger flavor at 1 ounce. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Revolver cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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