The Revolver is a caffeinated twist on the classic Manhattan that was created by San Francisco bartender Jon Santer in the early 2000s. It first appeared at Bruno’s before Santer took the drink with him to Bourbon & Branch, the acclaimed cocktail bar.
The original Revolver was locked and loaded with the spicy bite of rye-heavy Bulleit bourbon, which was new on the scene then. The drink can be recreated with any good bourbon, but if you want to stick true to the original, you can’t go wrong with Bulleit.
Rather than reaching for a bottle of sweet vermouth, à la the Manhattan, Santer employs a slug of coffee liqueur to give the cocktail depth and a hint of sweetness. A couple dashes of orange bitters round the drink’s edges, lending subtle brightness to that dark and mysterious duo.
The three-ingredient Revolver is simple to execute and should appeal to fans of classic whiskey cocktails and coffee-laced drinks—but the drink receives an additional flourish with its flamed orange peel garnish. This method adds warm, fiery notes of citrus oil to the cocktail and can be achieved without having any pyrotechnic expertise. To make it happen, strike a match and hold it near the drink’s surface. With your other hand, hold a strip of orange peel, with the skin side facing out toward the flame. Gently squeeze the peel along its horizontal edge to release the oils through the flame and onto the cocktail. This fun and simple step adds flair and flavor, perfect for impressing guests or finally using those matches you brought home from your favorite bar(s).
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: flamed orange peel
Add the bourbon, coffee liqueur and orange bitters to a mixing glass filled with ice, and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Flame an orange peel over the top of the drink to express its oils, then garnish with the peel.