How to Pour a Layered Shot

Introduction: How to Pour a Layered Shot

Any primate can mix a rum and coke, but layered shots, those are a feat.  Attractive as they are delicious, layered shots are the perfect way to tell your guests that you are a drinker of class and distinction who knows at least one neat party trick.

What you'll need:

2 Liquors (or a liquor and a mixer)
A shot glass (or more if you have friends)
A spoon
A functioning liver

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Choose Yer Booze!

The first step to mixing a layered shot is deciding which beverages to layer.  A few factors should inform this decision...

A) What are you in the mood for?  A pretty shot that no one wants to drink is like a sports car without a steering wheel; it's nice to look at but serves no purpose.
B) What's the occasion?  A red and green layered shot of Creme de Menthe and Grenadine is a great conversation piece at a Christmas party, but makes little sense and a Fourth of July B.B.Q.
C) Do you own white kitchen tile?  Many of the colored liquors, such as Curacao or Hypnotic, contain harsh food coloring that will tie-dye your counter if you're not careful.  Use caution mixing layered shots; spilling isn't just messy, it's a waste!

Pick two liquors or mixers that will both look and taste good together.  You can certainly layer more than two liquors, but seeing as this is a 'how-to', let's just go ahead and learn to walk before we run, shall we?

Liquors thus chosen, you're ready to start layering!

Step 2: Pour the First Layer

The next step is the easiest.  Simply pour the base liquor or mixer into the shot glass.  The base liquor should be the denser of the two liquors.  Check an alcohol density chart, like the one at, to see which of your two chosen liquors should be used for the base.  A good rule of thumb is that liquors with higher alcoholic content are typically less dense, and therefore make better toppers than bases.   As long as the two liquors are a density of 0.02 apart on the scale, they should layer without mixing.  The farther apart they are on the scale, the easier and cleaner the layering will be.

Fill the shot glass halfway, and then take a swig yourself.  You've earned it!

(taking a swig is optional, but recommended)

Step 3: Spoon!

Next, take that spoon you've dutifully put aside and place it, upside down, in the shot glass, so that the tip of the spoon sits barely submerged in the base liquor.  See the picture for guidance.

This step and the one that follows require a steady hand, so if you find yourself shaking, take another swig from the base liquor bottle.  It'll help.

Step 4: Pour Top Layer

Pour the second liquor, slowly, over the back of the spoon.  For the smoothest pour and best results, touch the mouth of the bottle to the spoon as you pour.  Fill the shot glass to the rim.  See picture for guidance.

This may require that you remove some of the liquor from the bottle.  If so, take a swig.  Maybe two.

Step 5: Un-Spoon!

Slowly, very slowly, remove the spoon from the shot glass.  The two liquors should stay separated, provided you followed these instructions, and you should be left with a yummy and fun looking layered shot that will make you the envy of all your friends! 

Worst case scenario, the liquors mix and you're left with a normal shot...  It's really a win/win.

Step 6: Practice Makes Perfect!

Practice, practice, practice.  Your first couple of layered shots may come out slightly muddied or poorly divided.  So make more!  Experiment!  Use different liquors!  Try using the previous steps to make three or even four layer shots!  Just have fun with it, clean up when you're done, and drink responsibly.


Be the First to Share


    • Tiny Speed Challenge

      Tiny Speed Challenge
    • Spring Cleaning Challenge

      Spring Cleaning Challenge
    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest

    3 Discussions


    4 years ago

    buttery nipples are great layering shots. use butterscotch schnapps as your base and float baileys Irish cream on top drink your shot and slam down your shot glass. delicious


    5 years ago

    Could you please give a list of liquors that compliment one another? This looks really cool & fun to do. Thanks.