Alcoholic shots, or shooters, are a fantastic way to enjoy spirits, without all the complication that comes from making and drinking an entire cocktail. Most of the time, you’re simply throwing back the shot in a single gulp. They’re great choices for parties too and there are many fun alcoholic shots that you can make easily at home.
The simplest type of shot, of course, is just a single type of spirit in a shot glass. Tequila shots are a particularly popular choice, often followed by a wedge of lime and some salt, but just about any type of alcohol can be consumed on its own as a shot.
Other types of shots are more complex, often using two or three different ingredients, if not more. The approach provides an interesting flavor profile. Many shots happen to look amazing in the glass too, especially if they’re layered.
In this list, we’re highlighting some of the best and most interesting shots that are out there. Some of these should be familiar, while others may not be. Many of these shots are common enough that you could easily order them at the bar, but the real fun comes from trying them out for yourself at home.
Finally, don’t forget that there are plenty of interesting non-alcoholic shots too, including ginger shots and turmeric shots. These won’t get you drunk, but they do provide some useful health benefits.
Fun Alcoholic Shots To Make At Home (With Pictures!)
While there are many variations to the 80s B52 shot, the classic version involves a layer of Kahlua, then one of Bailey’s Irish Cream, and then one of Grand Marnier. The shot ends up having a blend of cream, orange, and coffee flavors, which you’ll often taste all at once if you knock the shock back quickly.
Drinking the shot slowly is an option too. This allows you to savor the dessert-like flavors and fully experience the differences between the layers.
The layering process itself isn’t too difficult once you get used to it. You’re just relying on the back of a spoon and careful pouring. And, like most other cocktails and shots, it doesn’t really matter if you fail. The shot will still taste delicious even if the layers flow into each other somewhat.
The B53 is much less common than the B53 shot, partly because it is a variation on the same theme – and often gets called a B52 instead. As with the B52, this shot includes a layer of Kahlua and one of Bailey’s Irish Cream.
The difference is that the B53 tops this combination off with vodka rather than with Grand Marnier. This means that the cocktail simply tastes off coffee and Irish cream, there is no orange flavor.
It can be argued that this difference makes the B52 less appealing overall. But, the cocktail is easier to make at home, as you’re more likely to have a bottle of vodka in your cupboard than a bottle of Grand Marnier.
This three-ingredient vodka shot apparently gets its name for just how fast it will get you drunk. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the shot remains a popular choice and certainly delivers a punch.
To make the shot, you need two parts vodka, one part triple sec, and one part lemon juice. These are shaken together over ice and strained into the shot glass. The shot can also be made using blue curacao instead of the triple sec, which gives the drink a blue tinge and a little more sweetness.
Interestingly, the shot has become so popular that it is sometimes served as a cocktail in a lowball glass too. The ingredients are the same, although the lowball version is most likely to use blue curacao rather than triple sec.
This impressive shot relies on equal parts of Jägermeister, cinnamon schnapps, and 151 proof rum. These ingredients give you a fairly alcoholic and intensely flavored shot that some people really do love.
However, there’s a ton of variation. For example, some recipes rely on peppermint schnapps instead of cinnamon, while others also use both cinnamon and peppermint schnapps. You could even drop out the rum entirely if you really wanted to.
Which is the correct version? Who knows? Or cares? Shot recipes are just starting points anyway. You can easily mix it up to match your preferred flavors.
Peppermint Patty Shot
The name peppermint patty gives away exactly what this shot is meant to taste like.
To get this flavor profile, the shot relies on one part peppermint schnapps, one part dark crème de cacao, and two parts half and half. You could also swap the half and half out for cream instead. This would give you a richer drink that is a little dessert-like.
This cocktail gets its name from a type of bubblegum and the flavor profile aims to match that classic childhood treat. The goal does create a shot that looks and tastes interesting, making it a perfect party choice.
A bazooka Joe is easy to make, as the shot just relies on equal parts of three ingredients – Irish crème liqueur, banana liqueur, and curacao liqueur. These are all mixed together in a cocktail shaker and then poured into the shot glass, so there is no layering to worry about.
Pineapple Upside Down Shot
This shot reminds me of a pineapple upside down cake – and tastes a bit like one too. The shot can be simply made using equal measures of vanilla vodka and pineapple juice, with just a splash of grenadine for color.
The inclusion of both grenadine and pineapple juice makes this a fairly sweet drink that isn’t too high in alcohol. This is perfect for people who don’t drink shots regularly.
The layering also makes these fantastic shots for serving at events. Just make sure that you don’t jiggle them around too much, as the layers can easily muddle together.
The cement mixer is an interesting shot. It is incredibly popular, yet it doesn’t actually taste all that good. The unappealing taste (and texture!) may be a reason for the shot’s popularity, as drinking it can be a challenge and it’s always fun to watch people’s reactions.
The shot itself just relies on Bailey’s Irish cream and lime juice.
So far, this probably doesn’t sound so bad. The problem isn’t the taste of the ingredients but the texture. Some people describe the texture as being similar to drinking concrete, which is probably where the shot gets its name from.
The texture ends up like this because there is a chemical reaction between the fat in the Bailey’s and the acid in the lime juice. The effect tends to get stronger with time, so it’s best to drink this shot as soon as you make it.
While it might not look like much in the glass, a polar bear shot is delicious. It simply relies on white crème de cacao liqueur, along with peppermint schnapps.
The schnapps can be replaced with crème de menthe if desired. Doing so decreases the alcohol content somewhat. Using crème de menthe can also make the peppermint flavor seem less pronounced, creating a mellower drink all around.
There are other variations too. For example, you could use green crème de menthe or dark crème de cacao. Either of those approaches would change the appearance of the cocktail and affect the flavors too.
Regardless of your ingredients, you end up with a chocolate mint shot that tastes good at any time of the year.
The mind eraser is an interesting black Russian riff that can be made as a shot or a full cocktail. There are just three ingredients – vodka, coffee liqueur, and club soda.
For this shot, it’s best to layer the ingredients, starting with the coffee liqueur, followed by the vodka and finally by club soda. Of course, the layering is most relevant if you’re drinking the shot slowly. If you’re having it all in one gulp, there’s no harm in mixing the layers.
Big Bamboo Shooter
This shot has more ingredients than most others, so you’ll normally be making a batch rather than just a single shot.
The recipe relies on two ounces of 151-proof rum, one ounce of dark rum, and 1/4 an ounce of triple sec. Then there are the non-alcoholic ingredients, which include orange juice, pineapple juice, simple syrup, and a dash of bitters.
This combination of ingredients creates shots that are unusually high in alcohol content. The use of 151-proof rum is a key reason for this effect. It’s unusual to find this type of rum used as an ingredient. In most other cases, this type of rum is floated on top of cocktails or shots that are going to be lit on fire.
Alice in Wonderland
Is it surprising that there’s a drink named Alice in Wonderland? It’s such a wild and wonderful story that there are now countless spinoffs. Besides, there’s the whole ‘drink me’ theme throughout the book. Why not lean into an alcoholic version of that?
The shot version can be made using Grand Marnier and tequila, roughly in a 2:1 ratio. The best approach is to pour the Grand Marnier into the glass and then add the tequila gently over the back of a spoon.
Irish Flag Shooter
This layered shot is designed to mimic the colors of the Irish flag. It’s a relatively easy shot to make too, as the ingredients easily form layers without much effort on your part. Simply pour the liqueurs on top of each other over the back of a spoon and you’ll be all good to go.
The shot is generally made by using crème de menthe, Irish cream liqueur and Grand Marnier, in that order. This gives you the green, white, and orange color combination that you’re looking for.
The main limitation is the flavor, as you’re combining mint and orange in the same cocktail, two flavors that don’t pair together all that well. The creamy middle layer helps a little and some people do enjoy the cocktail for its flavor. Still, there are tastier cocktails out there.
The hot damn shot uses four ingredients – whiskey, rum, vodka, and orange juice. This makes it sound complex, but all you’re doing is shaking those ingredients together and pouring them into a glass.
You end up with a fairly potent mix, plus just enough sweetness from the juice to help it all go down easy. There’s also a tradition of yelling “hot damn!” after each shot. That tradition is often more memorable than the shot itself.
Fourth Of July
This shot follows the same theme as the previous one, except this time the emphasis is on the American flag. There are multiple versions of the cocktail out there, but a common one involves using equal measures of grenadine, blue curacao, and vodka.
You could also switch out the vodka for cream to create a creamier shot with much lower alcohol content. Either way, the cocktail tends to taste better than the Irish flag shooter, as none of the flavors strongly clash.
Motor oil is a Jägermeister shot that also includes peppermint schnapps, coconut rum, and Goldschläger (which is a type of cinnamon schnapps). This combination of ingredients makes it similar to liquid cocaine, except that you’re using coconut rum rather than overproof rum.
The combination of coconut, cinnamon, and peppermint in the shot is certainly interesting. Whether you enjoy the shot really comes down to your flavor preferences. Some people will love it, while others certainly won’t.
Red Headed Slut
This crimson drink uses some strong flavor ingredients, including Jägermeister and cranberry juice. Peach schnapps is used as well, which adds in a little sweet fruitiness.
While the combination of ingredients might sound strange, the red headed slut is one of the tastiest shots out there. You can even make larger versions of the drink for sipping, rather than enjoying it as a shot.
Regardless of how you make it, be sure to shake the drink over ice. Doing so chills the drink and also provides a little dilution. The dilution is critical, as the shot ends up too potent and syrupy if you skip the shaking step.
Straight spirits are quite intense as shots, especially if you don’t drink spirits often. Fruity liqueurs are an easy alternative. Not only are these sweet, but they also tend to be lower in ABV, which makes them easier to get down.
Limoncello is a classic example, although there are many others including Grand Marnier, grappa, and apple schnapps.
Here’s another red shot to try out – and it’s another one that relies on cranberry juice. The red snapper also uses whiskey and amaretto liqueur to create a distinctive flavor profile.
The traditional version of this shooter relies specifically on Crown Royal whiskey. However, you could switch this for another type of smooth Canadian whiskey to create a similar drink.
A black jack shot can be as simple as layering whiskey (ideally Tennessee whiskey) on top of black sambuca liqueur. The sambuca essentially sweetens the whiskey, creating an easy to drink shot. Using equal measures of both ingredients works best, although you can certainly play around with ratios.
There is also a full drink with the same name, which combines Scotch whiskey with Kahlua, triple sec, and lemon juice. These ingredients create quite a different flavor profile. You could potentially do this as a shot as well, with a little extra work.
For many people, the name of this drink is reason enough to try it out. The shot combines Irish cream liqueur and sambuca. Sambuca does have an intense flavor, but the Irish cream liqueur helps to tone this down and create a drink that tastes surprisingly good.
While there are various ways to make the cocktail, the general idea is that it should be layered, with the two ingredients not mixing at all. One way to do this is to add the sambuca first and then pour the Irish whiskey over using the back of a spoon.
Finally, a drop of grenadine or something similar is added to the top to create the ‘nipple’. A cherry can be used instead.
There are multiple variations of the recipe, including one that uses Irish cream, Kahlua, and, butterscotch schnapps, and another that uses Kahlua, sambuca, and Irish cream instead. The flavor profile is different with each version, but there are still some similarities.
The prairie fire shot isn’t for the faint of heart. This shot just consists of tequila and tabasco sauce, so it certainly has a bite to it.
Just how strong the shot is depends on how it is made. A dash or two of tabasco sauce is enough to give you an interesting hit of spice, without giving you any serious problems. However, the shot is often made with much more tabasco than this, which may give you pause if you’re out on the town.
In fact, the shot is often considered to be one of the worst to order at a bar. If you’re not expecting the heat, then the shot might not be enjoyable at all. On the other hand, some people do love a challenge.
The brain hemorrhage shot is a popular Halloween treat, which shouldn’t be surprising at all (I mean, just look at it!). To make the shot, you first pour peach schnapps into a shot glass, then gently add an equal measure of chilled Bailey’s.
Once the Bailey’s has been added, you need to let it start to curdle. This curdling is what creates the strange texture in the cocktail. Then you add a little grenadine to finish the whole thing off.
The combination of ingredients means that this is a very sweet cocktail. It also has a fairly low alcohol content, especially when compared to straight whiskey or vodka shots.
Zombie Brain Hemorrhage
This cocktail follows a similar pattern to the previous one. So, you’re still using peach schnapps and curdling your Irish cream. The difference is that you’re also adding a little green creme de menthe into the mix.
The creme de menthe adds a peppermint flavor to the drink. It also provides a green tinge, which is where the ‘zombie brain’ idea comes from.
Alternatively, you could skip the creme de menthe and include melon liqueur instead. Doing so still provides a green color but gives you a fruity flavor rather than a peppermint one.
Flaming Dr. Pepper Shot
This shot is a little misleading, as it doesn’t actually involve Dr. Pepper at all. Instead, the cocktail relies on amaretto liqueur that is topped with 151-proof rum. The key feature is that the shot is then lit and will burn because of the high proof rum.
This shot is normally served with beer, often as a bomb shot. If you’re going to take this approach, it’s best to blow out the flame before dropping the shot. Failing to do so could lead to the larger glass breaking, which is far from ideal.
The shot gets its name because the combination of ingredients ends up tasting like Dr. Pepper. It’s a surprising effect and is much more appealing than including soda in a shot.
No surprises here – the popularity of this shot is mostly associated with its name. There’s always something a little exciting about ordering raunchy shots, particularly when you’re with a group.
The shot itself is surprisingly simple. It starts with a layer of amaretto, which is then topped with coffee liqueur and finally with whipped cream.
This does end up being a fairly sweet and low alcohol shot, so it’s not likely to get you drunk. Still, it’s a fun one, particularly with the cream to finish it off.
A grasshopper can be made as a shot or a cocktail and, as is often the case, there are multiple versions to choose from. A popular approach for the shot involves mixing equal measures of crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, and cream.
This combination creates a sweet and creamy shot. Just be careful, as the dessert-like style of this recipe makes it easy to consume too many shots in short succession.
Jello shots are a fun alternative to regular shots. As the name suggests, these shots rely on gelatin to create a gel-like texture. You can make the shots in whatever flavor you want and spike them with liquor.
The most common choices are shots with a single flavor that is spiked with either vodka or rum. For these, you can simply rely on flavored Jello. Other variations are more complex, such as Jello shots that have multiple layers or ones that try to mimic the flavors of a cocktail.
There are also various ways to serve the shots. Plastic shot cups are an easy approach, as the shot can simply be squeezed out. Another idea is to create a sheet of gelatin that can then be cut into pieces. Other approaches are more creative, like making shots that are served like orange wedges.
It’s generally best to start off with a recipe for Jello shots, as it can take time to get the right balance between liquid, alcohol, and flavor. Once you’ve had a few successes, you should know enough to begin experimenting on your own.
This is sometimes called a green tea shot and other times a Jameson green tea instead. However, there’s no tea in the shot at all. The drink is simply named for its color instead.
The shot is fairly simple to prepare, as it just relies on Jameson whiskey, peach schnapps, lemon-lime soda, and sour mix. The sour mix means you end up with a refreshing sweet sour shot.
To keep it authentic, you need to prepare the shot with Jameson whiskey, as the recipe originally comes from the Jameson company. Still, doing so isn’t essential. Another type of whiskey would still give you a delicious drink.
This is an orange shot that combines sloe gin, amaretto liqueur, and Southern Comfort. It is a fruity drink that is easy to enjoy. Some versions add in a little lemon juice or a sour mix to help balance out the sweetness.
Interestingly, you’ll find the Alabama Slammer made as a cocktail, as well as a shot. The ingredients tend to be the same either way, although the cocktail version is often served over ice.
Three Wise Men
This simple whiskey shot uses equal measures of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whiskey, Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey, and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. So, Johnnie Walker, Jim Beam, and Jack Daniels are the three ‘wise’ men.
While combining three whiskies in the same shot might seem odd, each product does add a distinct flavor profile to the drink. Plus, the shot is popular, suggesting that the flavors work well.
You can also serve this shot over ice and sip it slowly. Doing so allows you to taste the nuances of each whiskey.
There are also some interesting riffs on the recipe. One is ‘three wise men visit Mexico’ which adds tequila as a fourth ingredient. Another is ‘three wise men go on a hunt’, where Wild Turkey bourbon is added as well.
Here’s another fruity shot to try. A melon ball simply relies on melon liqueur, pineapple juice, and vodka. Because the vodka doesn’t add any flavor to the drink, you just end up with a combination of melon and pineapple.
This interesting shot relies on equal parts sambuca, Irish cream, and absinthe, plus a drop of grenadine. To make it, you first pour the sambuca into a glass, then gently create a layer of Irish cream, followed by another of absinthe. Finally, add a drop of grenadine to create the visual effect.
You may end up with some curdling of the Irish cream, much like in the brain hemorrhage shot. This makes the shot look even more impressive.
A woo woo is a little like a cosmopolitan in that it relies on cranberry juice and vodka as key ingredients. The difference is that a woo woo shot also uses some peach schnapps.
The schnapps provides extra depth of flavor to the cocktail, making it much more interesting than a simple mixture of cranberry juice and vodka.
A Jagerbomb is often served as a bomb shot, where you drop a shot of Jägermeister into a large glass of Red Bull. It’s a popular shot, partly because the Red Bull provides an energy boost that slightly offsets the energy depressant effect from the alcohol.
It’s also possible to serve and drink a Jagerbomb in the form of a shot. Doing so is as simple as mixing the ingredients and then pouring them into a shot glass. You can also experiment with the ratios, such as using less Red Bull and more Jägermeister to create a stronger shot.
A black Russian is traditionally a cocktail served over ice, which combines vodka and coffee liqueur (generally Kahlua). However, you can make a black Russian as a shot as well. The ingredient selection is the same, so you only need two ingredients to make the shot at home.
A black Russian works particularly well for anyone who isn’t a fan of fruity shots. The shot is fairly strong too, as all the ingredients are alcoholic.
Fireball Whiskey is an easy alternative if regular whiskey shots are too intense. The cinnamon-flavored whiskey has a spicy sweetness that works well in shots. It also has a lower ABV than straight whiskey, which makes it easier to get the shot down.
Speaking of strong shots, here’s another powerful choice. As with the previous example, Four Horsemen is common as a cocktail and can be made as a shot as well.
Both versions use equal parts of four different spirits, generally Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Johnnie Walker, and Jose Cuervo. Three of these four are types of whiskey, making the drink well-suited to anyone who loves whiskey.
Some variations add extra ingredients to the cocktail. However, these can be more difficult to make as a shot, as you don’t want too many ingredients in a small shot glass.
The mad dog cocktail is an easy one to make. It simply relies on raspberry syrup and vodka. Some versions also add half a dozen drops of tabasco on top of the cocktail.
If you include the tabasco, then the combination of ingredients is, quite simply, weird. Yet, some people find that the flavor profile works well.
With a name like Chuck Norris, it’s not surprising that this shot is intense.
One version of the recipe relies on cherry vodka, grenadine, and hot sauce in the shot itself, then a larger glass of energy drink. This one is served as a drop shot, where you drop the shot glass into the glass of energy drink. Red Bull works particularly well. You could even experiment with honey hot sauce in this recipe.
Another version skips the grenadine and mixes cherry vodka, Liquid Ice energy drink, and hot sauce in the shot glass itself. This version isn’t quite as intense, but it’s easier to drink than the drop shot approach.
Regardless of the recipe, you end up with hot sauce, vodka, and some energy drink all at once. It’s certainly a shot to remember and is also a very manly drink.
We mentioned the kamikaze shot before. This one is a slight variation on the idea, as it relies on blue curacao as an ingredient. The curacao is responsible for the blue color of the cocktail and provides an orange flavor as well.
The most common version of the shot involves equal measures of vodka, blue curacao, and lime juice. As with a regular kamikaze cocktail, you can increase the quantities and serve this drink as a cocktail rather than as a shot.
Shots don’t need to be complicated. Rather than mixing or layering multiple ingredients, why not just use a single spirit. Whiskey shots are particularly popular and there are plenty of different whiskies to experiment with.
If you’re planning to slam your shot, then a cheap whiskey is probably best (not too cheap though!). If you plan to savor it instead, a more expensive bottle of whiskey works well.
The cranberry cookie is a two-ingredient shot. It uses two parts cranberry juice and one part amaretto. You can change the ratio of the ingredients if you like. Some people find that increasing the amaretto content slightly creates a better flavor profile.
As with similar shots and cocktails, it’s important to choose the right cranberry juice. To begin with, look for a product that is called cranberry juice, rather than a cranberry drink.
Pay attention to the percentage of cranberry too, along with the other ingredients. The best cranberry juices tend to have a decent percentage of cranberry and not too much sugar.
While this looks like a shot of whiskey, it’s actually a different beast entirely. There are actually 11 different types of alcohol in this shot, including Everclear, Bacardi 151, tequila, vodka, Jägermeister, and more. It’s like a Long Island Iced Tea on steroids.
The inclusion of both Bacardi 151 and Everclear makes this a surprisingly potent little shot as well, one you won’t soon forget.
This is one of the strongest shots that you can make, as it simply relies on two parts gin and one part Scotch whisky. The flavor is surprisingly good. The whisky provides a somewhat smoky tinge, but this will vary depending on the specific whisky that you use.
Some versions use additional ingredients, like liqueur to add some extra complexity.
The hell’s fury shot looks amazing, partly because it’s jet black. The shot starts with a habanero slice that’s muddled in the bottom of the glass. Then you add a mixture of four spirits – Everclear, black absinthe, 151 proof rum, and Fireball.
As you can probably guess, this is an intense drink. You have some strong flavors at play, along with a high alcohol content. You might find it difficult to have more than one of these at a time.
As the name suggests, this shot is a variation on the lemon drop cocktail. It can be made using vodka, Cointreau or triple sec, and lemon juice.
The vodka that you choose can influence the finished shot too. For example, some people rely on lemon-flavored or citrus-flavored vodka, which complements the other ingredients perfectly.
Adding a sugar rim to the shot makes it even more similar to the cocktail, although doing so isn’t essential. The shot still tastes good with or without the sugar rim.
Here’s another shot that’s simply a smaller version of a traditional cocktail. Making cosmos as shots is a fun idea, as the cocktail is great for parties. The tart cranberry flavor of a cosmopolitan is another reason that the cocktail works so well as a shot.
One other thing to mention is the alcohol content. The amount of vodka in a cosmopolitan varies depending on the recipe, but you can easily increase the alcohol to mixer ratio in a shot, as you’re drinking less at a time.