As the doldrums of winter truly set in, you need a cocktail that’ll give you a bit of a jolt — an eye-opener, if you will. The Revolver is just that. The modern classic — it was devised in the early aughts in the San Francisco bar scene — is a mix of bourbon and coffee liqueur. It’s sort of… the Manhattan’s answer to the espresso martini, but a little more down-and-dirty yet somehow also a tad more refined.
The whole vibe of the Revolver is to highlight some good bourbon with a thick layer of caffeine-heavy coffee liqueur that’s all countered by orange. I love the mix but, in the past, I’ve found the final product a little coarse. I like to add some chocolate bitters to the mix to balance out the bitterness of the coffee liqueur and bring more roasted depth to the orange aspects. That’s the recipe I’ll be using below (so this is technically an Uproxx riff on the classic version).
Okay, let’s get right to it and stir up a tasty, eye-opening cocktail to beat those winter blues.
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- 2 oz. bourbon
- 0.5 oz. coffee liqueur
- 2 dashes of Chocolate Bitters
- 2 dashes of Orange Bitters
- Orange peel
I’m using Weller Antique 107, which is devised as a great cocktail bourbon (yes, I know it’s allocated and hard to find for MSRP outside of certain markets). The higher proof adds a nice bite to the cocktail with a sense of dried woody chili peppers and deep roasted cacao emerging through the mix. If you don’t have Weller Antique 107 on hand, I’d suggest Wild Turkey Rare Breed or Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon instead. The key is to use a very good quality bourbon.
The rest is all easily findable at any good liquor store.
What You’ll Need:
- Coupe, Nick and Nora, or cocktail glass (pre-chilled)
- Mixing glass/jug
- Julep cocktail strainer
- Prechill the glass in the freezer.
- Add the bourbon, coffee liqueur, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass/jug. Stir for about 20 seconds or until the outside of the glass is ice-cold to touch.
- Fetch the glass from the freezer and strain the cocktail into it.
- Express the oils from the orange peel over the cocktail and rub the peel around the rim of the bowl and stem. Serve.
This widens your eyes from the first sip to the last. The orange and dark chocolate dominate at first but then a deep and dark red chili pepper that’s woody and dry really pops on the palate. There’s a light sense of burnt toffee and a fleeting note of singed cherry bark as well. This is a dark and complex cocktail with a nice kick.
The finish leaves you with that dark chocolate orange feel that’s very wintry next to a sense that you just took a shot of espresso kissed with bourbon.