The Revolver Cocktail Originally Included Bulleit Bourbon

The Revolver cocktail is a modern classic that packs a punch with bold and balanced flavors. Created in San Francisco by acclaimed mixologist Jon Santer when Bulleit was a new bourbon on the market, the high alcohol by volume drink is a riff on the Manhattan that features whiskey, a sweet caffeinated hit of coffee liqueur, and a dash of orange bitters for balance. What better spirit for a high-powered drink named after a gun than a whiskey named Bulleit?

While working behind the bar at a jazz club in 2004, Santer developed the Revolver to make use of a case of Bulleit he had on hand. The craft cocktail scene was several years away, and most bars didn't have access to kitchens to make interesting syrups or elaborate culinary creations, so his idea was to innovate with the ingredients that he had readily available. The concoction of rum-based Tia Maria and Bulleit included a dramatic smoking gun garnish: a flamed orange peel squeezed over the drink.

The Revolver's popularity was not a long shot

The simple-to-mix drink gained popularity at the next bars Jon Santer directed, and now you'll find it on cocktail menus around the world. Coffee and whiskey are a delicious pairing, and that hint of orange ties them together nicely. With no fancy equipment and a short list of ingredients, you can stir up your own Revolver in a flash. Any spicy rye or rye-forward bourbon would work well, and you can also branch out to your favorite coffee liqueur. 

A few dashes of spicy orange bitters complete the flavor profile. Flaming the orange peel could be the biggest challenge, so feel free to simply twist the peel over the drink if you want to avoid the pyrotechnics. Stirred to perfection and strained into a chilled glass, the Revolver stands as a testament to the art of mixology, delivering a smooth and potent libation that intrigues both whiskey enthusiasts and cocktail aficionados alike.