Any self-respecting spirits professional will tell you that good spirits are for sipping, not for shooting. And then, once they get off their shift, odds are they’ll have a shot and a beer themselves. And we’re A-OK with that. We’re all for savoring your booze, but sometimes you just want a hit of something smooth and tasty. Here are seven suggestions.
Montenegro Need something to settle your stomach after dinner? Try this pleasantly bittersweet, strongly orange-y amaro. Tasty enough to sip neat—but also tasty enough to put back in one go.
Bartenders are all about fernet shots—but the crazy-bitter amaro can be an acquired taste. If you’re looking for something just a tad mellower, Cynar is a great choice. Made with artichoke, it’s nicely bitter and earthy, and it goes down a fair bit easier than fernet.
A bartender friend who I won’t name used to pour his friends green Chartreuse shots at the bar when the boss wasn’t looking—it’s herbal, complex, exciting and honestly, pretty pricey. Save this one for special occasions.
If you’re a bourbon fan who hasn’t discovered applejack, it’s time. The dark spirit is distilled from apples and barrel-aged, and thus tastes something like an apple whiskey. Laird’s is the brand to know.
At many bars, Fireball is the shot of choice, but to our taste, it’s far too sweet. So opt for a better cinnamon whiskey—Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire is a lot more balanced, and if you can find it, Spitball from Cooperstown Distillery is better still.
Nothing wrong with a shot of Jim Beam or Jameson, but there’s another brown spirit that goes down even easier—dark rum. Mount Gay Black Barrel is super satisfying and not too pricey.
Ice-cold ZU Bison Grass Vodka
Vodka shots will get the job done if you’re looking for a quick buzz, but there’s one drawback: They don’t taste like much. So try the bison grass vodka ZU instead. It’s a little grassy, a little herbal, a little fragrant and, of course, It’s best straight from the freezer.