Admittedly, shots aren’t usually a connoisseur’s favorite way to drink their favorite liquor. Most enthusiasts might even smirk at the mention or suggestion of shots. That said, there’s still plenty to be said about this infamous drinking tradition. At the very least, shots can make for an adrenaline-pumping and exciting moment shared with friends. And they can even be pretty enjoyable.
Making a good shot starts with knowing your liquor. Here are our choices for the best liquors for shots:
The slightly-sweet profile of this sugar cane spirit makes it a wonderful liquor to sip on the rocks and to incorporate into all sorts of mixed drinks. Among the mixed options, colorful shots are popular—and flaming ones, too! The rum-based shot we’ll be focusing on first is the eye-catching, slightly nerve-racking Flaming Dr. Pepper.
It should be noted that any time you plan on lighting your alcohol on fire, you should handle yourself and your ingredients with great care. Flaming liquids aren’t too forgiving!
This particular shot has been called less of a shot and more of a full drink that needs to be downed quickly. This is large because the preparation will include half a pint of beer and yield a bit more than what normally fits into a shot glass.
To prepare this drink, a pint glass is filled about halfway with beer, and a shot glass is filled with ¾ ounces of Amaretto and topped off with rum (about ¼ ounce). The star player here is the rum, which needs to have a high ABV level (above 50%). The liquid in the shot glass is then lit on fire and the entire shot glass is carefully dropped into the half-pint of beer.
The resulting drink, which is normally pounded down in a second or two, tastes a whole lot like Dr. Pepper—hence the name. This is definitely an exciting drink, both to observe and to consume! Though, maybe it’s also one that’s better left to the professionals at the bar to make.
This French liqueur comes both in yellow and green shades and can vary in alcohol content and taste. Green Chartreuse, specifically, is pretty high in its ABV level (around 55%). Made with 130 herbs and other plants and spices macerated in alcohol, the liqueur is both sweet and spicy, all while being quite pungent. Yellow Chartreuse is very similar in its flavor profile to its green sibling, only a bit milder and sweeter. Its ABV level is a bit lower as well, around 40%.
While this liqueur is often reserved for cocktails and other mixed drinks, its interesting and pungent flavor profile makes for a delightful shot. Being sweet as well, it’s not too rough going down. This liqueur isn’t cheap, however. Enjoy one or two shots, but think twice before buying several rounds for all your friends.
Who said shots couldn’t get a little highbrow? Fernet is a bitter and aromatic herbal liqueur that is incredibly popular in Argentina. It is, however, an acquired taste. The 40% ABV level isn’t something to take too lightly, either, and while it does go down pretty smoothly, it also packs a tough black licorice taste.
It might even be a confusing flavor profile if it’s your first time tasting it, but it quickly grows on you. Many Fernet loyalists also claim that the liqueur is both a hangover cure and hangover free. We can’t vouch for this, but you can certainly trust in the culture and tradition to feel less guilt when enjoying a shot or a few of this liqueur.
Here’s another liquor to take you on a bit of a cultural excursion. Aguardiente, in general, is a bit of an umbrella term encompassing alcoholic beverages distilled from fermented drinks (usually between 30% and 60% ABV). In Colombia, on the other hand, this refers exclusively to a popular national drink with more mystery behind it than one might think.
This Colombian liquor is made from four simple ingredients: alcohol, sugar, anise, and water. Beyond that, the production process is pretty secretive. That doesn’t keep it from being the life of the party, however! Aguardiente isn’t very complex on the palate, either, which makes it a great option to take down quickly and easily without feeling too guilty about missing out on savoring the notes.
A shot of whiskey has long been an iconic American tradition, from American folk songs about rough dive bars to the highest of upscale cocktail scenes. Taking a shot of whiskey has accompanied American culture in trying times as well as triumphant ones, and almost always means that something important has either happened or is coming. At least, that’s what the movies have told us.
Rye, Bourbon, Scotch—whatever your poison might be, this is one of the best liquors for shots that you can always count on. Just, maybe, take your next round one sip at a time.
Pick up one of these best liquors for shots at your local Zipps Liquor store!