14 Over-The-Top Shots, Ranked By Drinkability

Some liquors are made to be consumed but not tasted (and preferably mixed with something else), while other alcohols are best when you drink them straight. Of course, when it comes to the liquor shot? Things get foggy. There's the cheap tequila and the "I dare you" Jeppson's Malört shots from your college days, as well as top-shelf shots consisting of a single premium alcohol. But there's also a wide variety of multi-ingredient shot options that go above and beyond what you'd likely expect from such a drink.

Whether it's a fun name or a genuinely funky flavor (the type you'd expect in a meal rather than your drinking glass), there's a wide array of shot options out there — some of which are apt to raise an eyebrow or two. Like any cocktail, some shots appear to have been created by mixologists who painstakingly perfected the taste, while others seem to consist of gross choices quickly thrown together just to watch it all play out.

Now, with decades of experience drinking shots of all kinds — made with virtually every type of spirit and mixer imaginable — we've assembled a ranking of ridiculously made and named shots based on how easily you can consume them. While some of these shots are made to be tasted, others are undoubtedly best when slammed while holding your breath. Either way? Good luck. Here are 14 over-the-top shots ranked by drinkability.

14. Cement mixer

The cement mixer shot got its name because it's been described as feeling like cement in one's mouth. It literally coats the teeth and makes them feel like they're wrapped in concrete (yum). This shot solely consists of Irish cream and lime juice in equal parts. The lime juice is poured on top of the Irish cream — which causes the cream to curdle — before the drink is swallowed as a shot. Of course, the composition of this shot begs the question: why? 

We suppose if you're the type of person who enjoys the taste of curdled dairy, you may like this one. But seeing how the main purpose of the cement mixer shot is to act as a deterrent to drinking — it's used by some bars in college areas to keep young people from partying too soon, after all — it's not the type of shot anyone is apt to order more than once. Perhaps it's worth trying this curdled shot one time as an experience. Even so, it's the least drinkable shot we've ever encountered.

13. Liquid steak

Filets, New York strip, ribeye — now that's something you can sink your teeth into. Wouldn't it be convenient if you could drink that steak flavor? No, no, it would not. In that sense, well ... sometimes a name says it all: liquid steak.

Who thought this was a good idea? The liquid steak shot is so unpalatable that it's one of the worst shots you could order (it barely edged out the cement mixer). It's a fairly simple drink in terms of ingredients, requiring rum, often Bacardi, and a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce. But the fact that it only includes Worcestershire alongside alcohol is truly bizarre.

Nothing about rum and straight-up, unmixed Worcestershire sauce is appealing. Who wants to think of liquified steak while enjoying a drink? It may turn you off from steak altogether, and that's no good thing. So stick with actual beef (preferably cooked medium rare), and enjoy a shot that goes well with your meal instead of trying to replicate a steak dinner in a shot of Bacardi.

12. Angel of death

Jell-o shots rose in popularity in the 1980s. So did big hair, but all good things must come to an end. The Jell-o shot, however, is still going strong. Some may find doing shots of a thickened, wiggly substance a bit gross, but others seem to really dig it.

The Angel of Death whipped cream vodka Jell-o shot is a bit of a mouthful to say — and a lot of work to make, as far as shots go. It's created with whipped cream vodka, heavy cream, sugar, and gelatin powder. If you feel fancy, they can be topped off with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Use ready-made whipped cream or make homemade whipped cream right in your cocktail shaker since you have your drinking supplies out anyway.

The most dangerous part of any Jell-o shot is that it may be too easy to drink — if you make the batch ahead of time, of course. Since you won't enjoy an Angel of Death shot made on the spot (trust us), it ranks towards the bottom.

11. Birthday cake

Who doesn't love birthday cake? Birthday cake is fabulous, but so are a lot of things — and we can't drink them all. Yet one of the unique things you can use cake mix for is the birthday cake shot. Since you can now conveniently drink your dessert and get back to life, we have two words for cake and ice cream: good riddance (well, not really).

The birthday cake shot is made by mixing dry white cake mix with whipped cream vodka, some half-and-half, and other liquors (such as cake-flavored vodka). Then you simply shake it all together, pour it into shot glasses, and drink up your birthday treat. Now, one fun part of birthday cake shots is that you can line the rim of the shot glass with frosting and sprinkles. Unfortunately, that sounds better than the liquified mix.

A birthday cake shot doesn't sound like something we'd want to swallow in a single gulp. Rather, it seems like it should come with a fork and maybe a candle. In short, there are a lot of great packaged cake mixes on the market that should probably remain an option for cake rather than a drink.

10. Motor oil

For starters, we recognize the name of this shot is, well ... gross. However, the motor oil shot is actually pretty good (for what it is, at least). It's a unique shot with a slew of unusual contestants, including the star in Jägermeister, followed by peppermint schnapps, Goldschläger, and coconut rum.

The German-hailing Jägermeister is an after-dinner liqueur that's often served neat (or dropped into a glass of Red Bull on a rowdy weekend night). Since Jägermeister gives the motor oil shot its whirl, it's no surprise the alcohol is the most prominent flavor despite the trio of additional ingredients. Now, the co-stars in this shot certainly make an impact, as the Goldschläger's cinnamon notes (and fancy gold flakes) mesh well with the cool, minty peppermint schnapps, and the rum's coconut sweetness.

Still, the most prominent flavor you'll encounter in this shot is an intense black licorice component. In that sense, while it goes down smoothly, this shot may not be for everyone, so it comes at number 10.

9. Dublin drop

Guinness may be an Irish beer, but beer drinkers from all over the world love the dark, smooth stuff — whether or not it's St. Patrick's Day. In fact, Dublin Ireland's most-visited tourist attraction tends to be the Guinness brewery, with more than a million guests each year. Now, if you aren't a beer drinker, Guinness can still be used in bread recipes, as a meat marinade, or with ice cream. But only true Guinness lovers are likely to find the Dublin drop shot among the best liquor shots out there.

The shot – which is known to some by a different, offensive name (one we won't mention) — consists of three crucial ingredients: Guinness, Irish whiskey, and Irish cream. Simply put, it isn't a true Dublin drop without all three items. More than that, this shot is extremely unique since it isn't done like a traditional shot — which is what keeps the delightfully tasty drink from ranking higher.

Irish whiskey and cream are mixed in a shot glass, then gently dropped (shot glass and all) into a partially filled pint of Guinness. This drink is an Irish beer and whiskey lover's dream, but it won't go down fast (or easy) for everyone.

8. Hot damn

With a name like hot damn, it's got to be a fun shot; at the very least, it's fun to say. Thankfully, the hot damn shot is tasty — even though it's not very common to mix whiskey with rum and vodka. In this case, though, combining those liquors is a good idea. Mixing different types of alcohol that can hold up just fine independently (especially rum and whiskey) brings a new sense of notes to your palate upon ingestion. Plus, the rum has a little spice to it, and that spiciness melds well with the often caramel and vanilla essence of whiskey. 

Hot damn shots not only mix all those liquors together but calls for fresh squeezed orange juice, too, which turns down the heat on the three strong spirits. It brings some sweetness to the shot to boot. Since the intensity of a vodka-whiskey-rum shot may not appeal to everyone, it's in the middle of our list. But as a somewhat surprisingly enjoyable shot — one that lets you yell "hot damn!" after drinking — is an intriguing option.

7. White gummy bear

Who doesn't love gummy bears? The history of the gummy bear is as sweet as the candy itself. A man named Hans Riegel of Bonn, Germany, had a candy business in the 1920s and found his hard candies weren't selling well, so he created a softer treat using a gelatin base, and boom: the gummy candy was created. Though they come in many colors and flavors, those little white ones — with an unidentified, perfectly sweet flavor — may be the best. This may help explain the creation of the white gummy bear shot, which calls for raspberry vodka, peach schnapps, sweet and sour mix, lemon-lime soda.

Of course, this shot also includes those darling white gummy bears sprinkled on top — but be sure to chew them up before downing your shot. The smooth, saccharine, tangy mix is a winning combination (especially when a cute little bear is staring up at you from the bottom of the glass). At the same time, though, it may be a tad too sweet for some to enjoy, so it comes right in the middle of our rankings.

6. Jolly Rancher

Though Jolly Ranchers (the candy) always stuck in our teeth as a kid, that's less likely to happen with the grown up boozy shot named after them. Of course, recreating the flavor of Jolly Rancher candies in a shot is nothing short of brilliant (especially if you're a fan of the candy). The Jolly Rancher shot is a beautiful balance of sweet and sour. Plus, while there's a best method to melt Jolly Ranchers and use them in recipes, this particular shot is merely named after the fruity candies. You don't actually need a Jolly Rancher to make this shot, then (though using one as a garnish is nice).

Grab your cranberry juice, pineapple juice, apple vodka, peach schnapps, some ice, and a shaker, and shake it all together. The color is pretty pink, just like some of the candies. You can even prepare these shots ahead of time in your shaker without ice. When it's party time, simply add the cold cubes and serve in shot glasses. The Jolly Rancher goes down easy whether you're a fan of the original candy or not — even if it's not quite as drinkable as the top-five over-the-top shots.

5. Pineapple upside-down cake

Although shots named after food can be scary at times and downright gross at others (when they add actual food or spices that shouldn't be in a drink), the pineapple upside-down cake shot only has yummy flavors. In other words, there are no chunks of cake or pineapple in this shot — and no uncooked cake mix, either, so it ranks at number five.

The pineapple upside-down cake — as in the food — has a fun history dating back to the 1920s when it appeared in cookbooks. It reached its peak popularity in the '50s and '60s, and your grandmother or great-grandmother likely served it at potlucks and holidays. The flavor of the iconic cake includes cherries and pineapple, making it destined to end up as the name for a liquor shot (sorry, grandma).

Unsurprisingly, the shot's ingredients include grenadine and pineapple juice, which are old standards for making spirits like vodka taste better. Beyond its enjoyable taste, the shot is visually dazzling if you don't shake the ingredients together (and instead enjoy the layers of red and yellow). It'll go down nice and easy. Actually, it may go down too easily for some, so be careful.

4. Red snapper

Are you the type of person who wishes the holiday season lasted all year long? If so, the seasonably appropriate red snapper shot should be on your personal radar regardless of the month on the calendar.

The red snapper shot is made with Canadian whiskey (generally Crown Royal), amaretto, and cranberry juice. The sweet and sour ingredients work wonderfully together before you add the jazzed-up cranberries and rosemary sprig — so much so that it may be preferable to enjoy this shot without the sugar-soaked accoutrements.

Of course, with or without the garnishes, the fantastic flavors found in each red snapper shot are bound to hit you harder than you'd imagine at first blush. As with any shot, then, it's best to go slow with this delicious shooter — something easier said than done. It may be a tad too sweet (and therefore not as easy to consume) compared to the top three entries, but it's still a great option.

3. Green tea

Before you go bragging to your friends — and tell them the only way you'll do a shot of liquor is if it's a nutritious one, like the green tea shot – there's something you should know: the green tea shot doesn't contain green tea. Sorry, but the green tea shot merely resembles the green-hued beverage, and the similarities stop with the name. But the sheer fact that the green tea shot isn't nutritious doesn't mean it's not delicious — because it is.

You'll need several different liquid components and a shaker to make the green tea shot, including lemon-lime soda, Irish whiskey, sour mix, and peach schnapps. It's recommended that you skip a premade sour mix and opt for a homemade one, as the citrus in the fruit will make the green tea shot pop. It's tough to beat freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, after all, just it's tough to find a better over-the-tip shot option (which is why it kicks off the top three).

2. Alice in Wonderland

If you love tequila, you'll love the Alice in Wonderland shot. Since we do indeed love the Mexican spirit, we're big fans of the rather simple makeup of this not-so-simply named shot. In fact, the only real over-the-top aspect of the Alice in Wonderland shot may be its name — but that's more than enough for us.

Made with orange liqueur and tequila — preferably chilled reposado — this shot is a true delight. The orange liqueur adds just enough sweetness without turning this shot into an cloyingly sweet mess (or tasting like fruit punch). You can also turn the Alice in Wonderland into a full-fledged cocktail using the orange liqueur, Southern Comfort, and amaretto — using the latter two in place of tequila — or keep the tequila and join Alice down the rabbit hole.

The Alice in Wonderland shot is perfect for costume parties because of the name. Then again, it's also a phenomenal choice when you're hanging with friends and want to do some shots that actually taste like a decent cocktail. It earns the silver medal for drinkability because of its flexibility and flavor profile.

1. Kamikaze

There are a lot of drinks you can mix with vodka, and the kamikaze shot is among the most well-known to use it. The kamikaze is a classic liquor shot because it's been around a while, and you won't find a bartender who hasn't made one. Since it's both widely enjoyed and straightforwardly sweet (but not too sweet), it earns the distinction of the most drinkable over-the-top shot option.

The kamikaze consists of vodka, Triple Sec, and lime juice. This is a boozy shot that actually tastes good and has no unusual textures or unidentified flavors. The Triple Sec adds sweetness, while the lime adds a little sourness. The shot was invented at an American-occupied Garrison pub in Japan during World War II and became popular in the 1970s. It's still going strong in the 2020s and even has some variations, such as one made with gin instead of vodka or a spicy jalapeño kamikaze shot.

The kamikaze is tremendously easy to throw back and has a unique history. It's an old standby that'll never let you down (or make you wish you hadn't done a shot). Additionally, if you aren't used to shots of liquor, this is a great place to start.


There are more potential ways to consume alcohol in the 21st century than we could ever imagine listing — and shots are no different. Along those lines, a virtually endless collection of shot options containing more than one ingredient (and a particularly amusing moniker) were at our disposal when crafting this list. Given the clear logistical impossibilities of assessing and ranking every shot – featuring every possible combination of alcohols and mixers — we decided to limit this ranking to 14 varied shots.

We focused on providing a variety of shot options that spanned the spectrum of flavors, ingredients, and textures. Once we decided on our list of over-the-top alcoholic shooters, we ranked them based on how easy each shot was (or would be) to drink based largely on our personal experience with these shots and alcohols.

The opinions and recommendations in this article are our own, and based on years of experience with these alcoholic beverages and similar concoctions. Though we haven't tried every shot included in these rankings, we are immensely aware of the flavors presented in each entry and were able to accurately consider each shot's drinkability as a result.