Oh the memories, or lack of memories, associated with shots.

Sure, imbibing one of those 1980s naughty-named-drinks, like the Slippery Nipple, Screaming Orgasm, or Dirty Girl Scout, was fun in college. However, you’ve probably grown up and (hopefully) out of those by now. Thankfully, shooter cocktails have also matured.

Inspired by the craft cocktail movement, bartenders are elevating the drink category by applying the same precise technique and premium ingredients as showcased in cocktails. Many bars, such as L.A.’s Harlowe, dedicate an entire section of their menu to sophisticated shooters too lovely to gulp down in one swallow.

As further evidence of the trend, there’s a brand new cocktail book on the topic. Architect of the Shot: Crafting the Perfect Shot from the Bottom Up, by drink expert Paul Knorr, features 75 different shot and shooter recipes with unique blueprint-inspired illustrations by Melissa Wood.

Of the shooter trend, Knorr says, “What sets shots as a category apart from other cocktails to me is the social aspect.  Shots are fun to share with friends, creating a group experience not possible when everyone orders their own unique cocktail.  A round of shots is a celebration of life.”

Melissa Wood adds, “A shot is just as much of a thought-out combination of ingredients as a cocktail, but like a tapas, comes in a smaller package. Those who imbibe with discerning palettes explore more in the way of sampling the wildly different and subtle fusing of flavors offered by a wee glass of delectable spirits.”

Next time the mood strikes to shoot, try out one of these classy mini-cocktails.

Apple Pie Shot

Apple Pie Shot

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Apple Pie Shot

Courtesy of “Architecture of the Shot”

(Makes 6 Shooters)

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 oz. Vodka, such as Van Gogh
  • 2 1/4 oz. Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 2 1/4 oz. Fresh Apple Juice

Preparation: Place 6 or 7 square ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Pour in vodka, coating the ice. Add schnapps and apple juice. Shake vigorously in a vertical motion for 10 seconds. Strain slowly into six 1 1/2 fluid oz. (45ml) shot glasses.


Jäger After Dark

Jäger After Dark

Photo Courtesy of Jägermeister

After Dark

Courtesy of Jägermeister

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz. Dark Chocolate Liqueur (Mozart Black or Godiva)
  • 1 oz. Jägermeister

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake well and strain into a shot glass.


Church Key

Church Key

Photo Courtesy of Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette

Church Key

by Monique Hernandez, Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette, Houston, TX
(Serves Two)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Knob Creek Single Barrel, 120 Proof
  • 3/4 oz. Creme de Menthe
  • 3/4 oz. Creme de Cacao
  • 1 oz. Heavy Cream

Preparation: Combine in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake until well chilled. Double-strain into two shot glasses.


Le Vendemia

Le Vendemia

Photo Courtesy of Davio’s

Le Vendemia

Courtesy of Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, Boston, MA

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 oz. Grappa
  • 1/2 oz. Moscato
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 3 Fresh Red Grapes
  • Pinot Noir, to top

Preparation: Muddle grapes with grappa, moscato, and Lillet Blanc. Shake with ice, strain with fine mesh strainer into a port glass or shot glass. Top with pinot noir.


Melon Ball Shot

Melon Ball Shot

Photo Courtesy of Melrose Georgetown Hotel

Melon Ball Shot

Courtesy of Melrose Georgetown Hotel, Washington, D.C

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz. Vodka, such as Grey Goose
  • 1/4 oz. Melon Liquor
  • 1/4 oz. Pineapple Juice

Garnish: Whipped Cream, Honeydew Ball

Preparation: Put all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, shake it well, then strain into a shot glass. Garnish with whipped cream and honeydew balls.


Sazerac Shot

Sazerac Shot

Photo Courtesy of Whiteface Lodge

Sazerac Shot

by Zachary Blair, Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Rye, such as Pikesville
  • dash of Angostura Bitters
  • dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • dash of Simple Syrup

Garnish: Absinthe Float

Preparation: Add all ingredients plus ice in a mixing glass and stir to chill. Strain into shot glass. Add a dash of absinthe on top (less than 1/4 oz.). Light absinthe on fire, blow out and shoot.


Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

Photo Courtesy of Whiteface Lodge

Smoke and Mirrors

by Zachary Blair, Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Vanilla-Infused* Mezcal, such as Kimo Sabe
  • 1/4 oz. Pineapple Juice

Garnish: Orange Wheel, Salt

Preparation: Run orange on rim then salt rim. Stir mezcal and juice to chill. Garnish with orange wheel.

*Allow one to three vanilla bean pods to infuse in bottle of mezcal, minimum 36-48 hours.