There are two schools of thought when it comes to taking shots. There are those who argue a shot is a straight pour of liquor; no juice, no energy drinks. You might catch them with a lime wedge to follow the tequila, but that’s the extent of it.

Then there are those who want a mixed shot. Something added in to make it easier to take back. Within this group there are the drinkers who want a challenge. They like to push the limits and be creative. This group of people enjoys any drink order with the word “bomb” in it.

If you find yourself out with a group of “thrill”-seeking drinkers, be alert when they suggest shots. It won’t always be pretty, and it almost always will end up with a short night and long day of recovery.

I can only hope I’m not opening up a can of (tequila) worms with this list.

With the help of a few bartenders who wish to remain anonymous for fear of having to mix these in the near future, we have compiled a list of shots you should avoid at all costs.

Cement Mixer: Starts innocent with a shot glass filled with lime juice. Just as you breathe a sigh of relief, the bartender adds the Bailey’s. You can’t stop and think about this one. The Bailey’s quickly coagulates, making the texture tough to take back. It is not

Bear Fight: Many bars have banned this from being served at that bar. It turns out, like many concoctions, there are many variations of this. The original bear fight consists of a back-to-back Irish Car Bomb and Jager Bomb. Yikes.

One day someone thought that wasn’t enough and created a “Bear Fight in Vegas”. This should have stayed in Vegas. Start with the Irish Car Bomb, followed by the Jager Bomb, and then finish with a Vegas Bomb, which is a mixed shot of Crown Royal and butterscotch liqueur, dropped into a cup of Red Bull.

I can’t imagine anyone having a great night after taking something like this. I can almost guarantee the next day would be grueling.

Jersey Turnpike: Another one that many bars refuse to serve. It’s one of those things you may have heard of once, but you’ve never actually known someone who has experienced. Something you start to think is made up. The bartender simply empties the contents (read: extraneous juice and liquor) that have built up in the grooves of the bar mat into a shot glass. I’m not sure I could standby and watch someone do this. It’s quite belittling, but, for whatever reason, some people sign up for it on their own.  

Lunchbox Shot: Amaretto and orange juice can’t be that bad, right? If only that’s where this one ended. Fill a glass about halfway with equal parts orange juice and beer. Add in a shot of amaretto. Finally, drop in a shot of Southern Comfort. Some bartenders will omit the Southern Comfort and use amaretto for the shot. Does that make it easier to enjoy this? Unlikely. Something about beer and orange juice in a glass doesn’t scream “Have a great night and an even better morning!” Certainly not for the folks that ask that you don’t “fruit the beer”.

Prairie Oyster: Brandy, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and a raw egg. It requires some serious self-loathing to voluntarily order this nauseating mix.  

The names on this list aren’t overtly terrifying, but as a general rule, if the name is slightly embarrassing or nauseating to say aloud, you probably shouldn’t do it. Most terrible shots and drinks are appropriately given offensive or repulsive names.

This list is not exhaustive, of course. There are hundreds of mixes that many consider terrible. Of course, flavor is always subjective, but I think we can all agree that watching someone force down a shot of bar mat juice would not inspire us to order another round.

About Pam Martin

Pam Martin is a Worcester native. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications from Boston University, and works full-time in the wonderful world of marketing and advertising. She can be found behind the bar at Quinn’s Irish Pub or the Compass Tavern, where the customers provide more than just tips and laughs, but also most of the material that fuels “Across the Bar with Pam Martin”.

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