Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
Food & Drink

How to Shotgun a Beer With Your Thumb

We’ve all been there: You want to shotgun a beer with your friends (or you’ve been suckered into it), but you don’t have anything to puncture the can with. You could desperately ask around for some keys, but by the time you get one everyone around you will be done. You could make a hole with your teeth, but that’s only cool until you do it so many times that your canines wear down and you see how expensive dental work is. The only way out is to make your shotgun hole with your bare hands—and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Punching a hole into the bottom of a beer can is like maxing out one of those hammer strength tests at the county fair. It’s more about technique than it is about raw power. That said, the technique takes practice. It looks ridiculous to stand there thumbing the bottom of a beer while everyone’s waiting, so nail it a few times before taking your trick public.

Step 1: Position Yourself

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The sweet spot on the can is about an inch to an inch and a half from the bottom of the can. It doesn’t matter what part of the label is showing, just how far from the bottom you are.

Step 2: Find the Bubble

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

There’s a small air bubble in every can of beer, much like in a bubble level that you use to make sure your picture is hanging straight. Tilt the beer can back until you feel the bubble under your thumb. You should hit it when the top of the can is faced slightly down. There’s very little science on why the bubble matters (at least, as far as we could tell from our own experience and watching people make questionable decisions on YouTube). But it seems to work so follow tradition.

Step 3: Punch it in

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Punching the hole is self explanatory step that you don’t want to overthink. The best advice here is to push confidently and like you’ve done this before. Cans don’t puncture for the timid. Use the palm of your hand and your fingers to brace the back of the can for support. You can also enlist your other hand if you need. As you push, do so in an inward fashion so your thumb isn’t scraped by the aluminum, then proceed to shotgun like it’s an everyday occurance.