TOP PHOTO: Pinnacle Vodka has 40 flavors, including holiday flavors like Peppermint Bark and Pumpkin Pie. BOTTOM PHOTO: One-ounce, colored shot glasses are the way to go. Photo courtesy Party Essentials.
Looking to do something different for a holiday get-together with friends? While there’s always a holiday drinks menu, here’s an idea that requires no mixing: flavored shots.
The flavored spirits category is “on fire,” according to Liquor.com. a website for industry professionals. You can now find flavored bourbons and ryes*, in addition to the pioneer category of flavored vodka and the flavored tequilas† that followed vodka’s success.
Now before the angry comments begin, let us emphasize that this is not a lets-get-loaded shots party. It’s a responsible let’s-taste-some-flavored-spirits-straight opportunity. The novelty for many people is tasting flavored spirits outside of a mixed drink.
In fact, sipping from a shot glass is our favorite way to enjoy flavored spirits. And for planning purposes, four different flavors are about as much as people should have in an evening, even with designated drivers. While a standard shot is 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) for 80 proof distilled spirits, take it down to 1 ounce.
What if people want more than four ounces? Flavored club soda or spritzers.
WHERE DO YOU GET THE SHOT GLASSES?
You can buy clear one-ounce plastic shot glasses or two-ounce shot glasses. They can be washed and reused for another occasion.
But if you’re serving vodka or tequila, since the sprits are clear, we think colored shot glasses are all-around better. Not only are they festive, but you can color-code the pours.
WHAT FLAVORS SHOULD YOU PICK?
Your options are based on what spirit you choose. Pinnacle, for example, has more than 40 flavors of vodka. There are large numbers of flavored tequilas, and the numbers get smaller with whiskey.
For vodka, you can choose four different fruits from the many options, or make the party more holiday-focused with specialty flavors like Pinnacle’s Caramel Apple, Peppermint Bark, Salted Caramel, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Whipped Cream.
But wait: There’s also Cookie Dough, Pecan Pie Vodka and Pumpkin Pie.
Pinnacle doesn’t make a cranberry vodka, but other distillers do, including Bear Hug, Deep Eddy, Smirnoff and Sobieski.
And then there’s what your local liquor stores carry—or don’t.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHOTS AND SHOOTERS
Both shooters and shots are served in shot glasses. Shots are 100% spirits; shooters are mini-cocktails, combining spirits and/or liqueurs with non-alcoholic mixers.
Traditionally, both are consumed in one gulp, but we recommend breaking with the tradition of chugging. Chugging is for people who want to make a certain statement; sipping is for people who want to taste what they drink.
As always, plan ahead for designated drivers and don’t forget the plain or flavored club soda for in-between.
*Flavored bourbons include Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon and; Red Stag Black Cherry, Hardcore Cider, Honey Tea and Spiced; and Wild Turkey Spiced Bourbon. Flavored ryes include Pow-Wow Botanical Rye (saffron and orange peel), Even Dewar’s has Highland Honey Scotch. And Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn produces the makes chocolate whiskey. Also look for Bird Dog Maple, a best-seller, and Canadian Mist Peach, among others.
†There are numerous flavored tequilas: almond, banana, chile, chocolate, coconut, coffee, lime, mandarin, mango, pear, pomegranate, strawberry and watermelon. Check out these.