The difference between a sipping spirit and a shot couldn’t be more pronounced – one demands time to savour the complexities of flavour while the other is knocked back in favour of its length later.
But many licensees will tell you that there’s still a hard cadre of shots advocates among their customers and that’s good for the bottom line any time.
Most shots are taken with an 80 proof liquor such as Rum, Whiskey (not so much), Tequila (frequently), vodka (ditto) or gin (again here, not so much).
But shots can vary in strength and some even go all the way up to 95 proof (Everclear) or 96 proof (Spirytus Rektyfikowany)
“When I first started bartending there were a lot more Slippery Nipples, Brain Haemorrhages and b52s” says Stevie Cranley of Advanced Bar Consulting, “but nowadays it’s Baby Guinness and Tequila that are being ordered, but not as frequently. Jäger bombs still make an appearance,” he says, “I think people still enjoy doing shots of Tequila or Sambuca and layered shots like Baby Guinness. People are opting for fruit juice now with Tequila, like a shot of Tequila with a shot of Pineapple juice and you drink both in quick succession.
“Shaken shots had a brief moment in the sun but I think people realise that shaking anything takes a bit more time and it can slow down service but there’s good margin for shaken shots as you’re using juices and syrups to bulk up the volume.
“Shots can have good margins but only really if you’re doing good volume,” says Stevie, “It’s more of a culture in nightclubs to do shots.”
Over in Carlow The award-winning Dinn Rí & Terrace has a different age profile to The Foundry nightclub.
Dinn Rí’s Gary Walsh outlines the differences based on the last nine months.
The Foundry nightclub has an age-profile from 18 to 25 where shots are highly popular, he says.
“82% of our sales here are of spirits and 30% of that are shots or ‘bombs’,” he explains.
These can comprise Jägermeister, Tequila, Sambuca, Pirahna, Micky Finns or Baby Guinness – in shot format. Jäger Bombs and Blue Bombs are sold in a shot glass or in Slim Jim glasses with a mixer.
The Blue Bombs plus mixer have led, in turn, to his selling some 350 70cl bottles of De Kuyper Blue Curacao.
This high margin return would be married with responsible servings, he points out.
“Jägermeister is Number 1 in the Shots category (but more as a Bomb) and second in the Spirits category only to vodka in the Club,” he says, “Sambuca and Tequila are next best.”
As for the Dinn Rí Terrace Bar, the age profile is 21-plus.
“Spirits accounts for some 40% of our sales here of which shots comprise around 4%,” he says, adding that he’s witnessed a noticeable increase in layered shots such as the Baby Guinness.
“But Jäger, Sambuca and Tequila still lead the way in this age-profile!”
Sourz is a great-tasting shot, famous for its distinct sweet and sour fruit flavour. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam and launched in 1999, Sourz has grown to become one of the biggest brands in the non-cream liqueurs category.
Renowned for its overwhelming ‘real’ taste of fruit, this Sourz liqueur range inspires the cocktail-maker in you.
With five flavour varieties available in Ireland including Blackcurrant, Raspberry and Tropical, this vibrant collection can be consumed as a shot neat, on the rocks or as a long drink.
At 15% ABV, the most popular flavour by far is the original Sourz Apple. Vibrant green in colour, Sourz Apple is sure to catch your customers’ attention. The sweet apple flavour is balanced by a zingy sour finish, giving it a clean and crisp serve.
The perfect shot-tail recipe for Sourz Apple:
2 parts Sourz Apple
1 part Bols Yoghurt
Method – Layer the ingredients over a bar spoon carefully in the given order.
Also distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, Aftershock is a concept in high strength schnapps-style liqueurs from Beam Suntory.
Aftershock was first marketed primarily to younger drinkers but has now become a popular favourite with many age groups. The cinnamon-flavoured Aftershock Red liqueur has proved immensely popular since its introduction.
A popular shooter on the drinking circuit since it was first released after the original Red was a phenomenal success, Aftershock Blue is a fresh combination of citrus and mint. Its striking colour catches the eye while its flavour and power are as potent as the original Hot Cinnamon version, with strong mint/citrus flavours dominating. Customers should take it in one, then take a deep breath. Best consumed ice cold and neat from a shot glass.
Jägermeister – Ice Cold -18 degrees
Every German masterpiece contains equal parts precision and inspiration. Bold, yet balanced, our herbal liqueur is no different.
Blending 56 botanicals, our ice-cold shot has always been embraced by those who take originality to the next level.
Powering perfectionists since 1878, our unique elixir was created in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, by Curt Mast. While times may have changed, the recipe has not. Never mess with a winning formula; being iconic is that simple.
56 ingredients, every one essential
The highest-grade herbs, blossoms, roots and fruits from around the globe are crafted into four distinct macerates then combined in modern-day alchemy into our herbal spirit. The full ingredient list is a closely-guarded secret but raise a glass to your lips and you’ll taste all four corners of the world.
Jägermeister’s Head of Product and Raw Materials is one of the few people in on our secret recipe. True to our German roots no detail escapes his uncompromising standards. Rumour has it that his watchful gaze is one of our key ingredients… True connoisseurs can single out Jägermeister’s five distinct notes; we can’t tell you how we make them but here’s a hint…sweet, bitter, fruity/citrus, spicy/earthy, herbs/aromatic.
Aged to perfection in German Oak
Every drop of Jägermeister comes from one of the 445 Oak barrels that live in our factory cellar. In the depth’s darkness the macerates are left to blend and mature for up to a year until they become liquid German perfection.
Best served ice-cold – “Ice-kühl -18°C” to be precise.
Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Cocalero was launched in 2013 with a focus on key Asian markets and by 2017 had sold over 1 million bottles. It has now been recognised as one of the most successful spirit launches in the Japanese beverage industry in the past 20 years and is experiencing phenomenal growth in Asia.
The distinctive green liquid is produced and distributed by Intrepid Spirits, an independently-owned company headquartered in Ireland from where it exports to over 20 worldwide markets.
Cocalero Clāsico is inspired by the flavours and culture of South America. Distilled with 17 natural botanicals to a proprietary recipe, it includes Coca leaf, Juniper, Lavender, Ginger and 13 other hand-selected botanicals that give Cocalero a surprisingly unique flavour. The name comes from the Cocaleros, traditional Coca leaf farmers in the Andes. The Coca leaf plays an important role in Andean culture and is used to suppress altitude sickness and provide energy and stamina.
At 29% ABV Cocalero Clāsico is a premium mid-strength spirit that has universal appeal. It’s most commonly enjoyed as a chilled shot but also as a ‘Cocabomb’ which is served in a signature bomb glass and layers Cocalero over ginger beer or an energy drink.
Launched in Ireland in 2018, you can expect to see Cocalero popping up in busy bars and nightclubs all over Ireland.
For distribution enquiries contact Intrepid Spirits on (01) 547 1727.