The Best Whiskey for Shots: 20 Great Choices

by Dane Wilson | Last Updated: September 9, 2022

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Whiskey is one of the most delicious types of liquor you can get in this world; with the differences between corn, wheat and rye whiskey or even Bourbon, Irish or Scotch whiskey are incredibly distinct. As such, if wanting to drink the best whiskey for shots there are a multitude of great options for doing so. That said though when it comes to pouring a shot glass full and necking some, you may be wondering which bottles to grab for. Now of course for something smooth and flavourful a sipping whiskey may do the job fantastically. However, another option is to fix yourself some mixed whiskey cocktails. Either way though, if looking for the best whiskey for shots then you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ll outline the ideal choices available in twenty-twenty-two.

Table of Contents

Why Do People Do Shots?

The reasons that people do shots tend to boil down to simple self-evident reasons. At least they are if you enjoy going out for drinks with friends. Or just hang out in bars enough.

The first of which is that they are a reliable way of getting drunk quickly. Now of course the reasons someone may wish to do this may vary but most commonly, it’ll be when you are either celebrating or commiserating. Although, when you just want to let your hair down and go for a wild night out with friends, shots of some sort will be on the agenda at some point. This is especially more efficient than an equal amount of beer.

Somewhat related, another reason for drinking the best whiskey for shots or other strong drinks is the ritual of doing so. Now, this may sound odd, but think about it, there are certain unspoken understandings when it comes to doing shots. They can be used as forfeits, dares or celebrations. As such, they have usually considered a social thing with some bartenders even joining you in taking a shot. Or in some cases, even complete strangers will get in on it. Additionally, there are many cultural rituals surrounding shots. These include saying sláinte, or skol, or cheers, or bottoms up before doing so or simply what you have with a specific shot. For example, doing tequila shots without lime wedges and salt just feels wrong.

That said, in more modern times, shots are also sometimes used in a different context. For example, some higher-class dining areas have adopted the idea of pairing mixed shots with dishes such as caviar. The purpose of such is to have the taste of expensive liquor on your palette whilst you eat. Although, depending on how many of these shots you end up doing, you’re likely to not really remember how anything tasted the next morning.

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What Makes the Best Whiskey for Shots?

Depending on who you ask, you will likely receive different answers as to what makes for a good whiskey shot. For some, shots will be done as a dare, bet or forfeit of some kind. In such a scenario, the sharpest tasting whiskies that are dominated by an alcohol flavour and a feeling of gut rot would be the best choice. However, if wanting the shot drinking experience to be a pleasurable one then a smooth whiskey with distinct and nuanced flavours that sit on the palette is what you’ll be needing. The latter of which is what we’ll be focusing on with the below suggestions.

The Best Straight Whiskeys For Shots And Sipping

When it comes to what the best whiskies to shot are, it is often the case that they are also the best ones to sip. The reason for this is that the best sipping whiskies will provide a nuanced combination of flavours along with that classic whiskey burn. With that in mind then, some of the best whiskies for shotting and sipping include the following:

  1. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  2. High West Campfire Whiskey
  3. Compass Great King Street Artist’s Blend
  4. Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  5. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Years Old
  6. Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye
  7. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  8. Westland Peated Whiskey
  9. Redbreast 12 Years
  10. Laphroaig Quarter Cask

The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022: 20 Great Choices

Buffalo Trace Bourbon

This Kentucky Bourbon can be quite an elusive whiskey to get your hands on. However, if you are able to then the taste and aroma of this delicious bourbon will be well worth it. These being incredibly layered and multifaceted but predominantly including flavours such as butterscotch, caramel and cinnamon.

Additionally, it has a wonderfully smooth finish making it a good sipping whiskey that whiskey drinkers the world over can enjoy. The reason for this is the decade-long age process in now oak barrels. That said though when shotted, the rich flavours mentioned prior will linger on the palette whilst you feel a slight yet hearty burn on the throat.

High West Campfire Whiskey

Now some people will turn their noses up at a blended whiskey being included here. That said though High West Campfire Whiskey is a delicious and somewhat unique blend which consists of rye, bourbon and Scotch whisky. The result of which being an intense and unique whiskey drinking experience.

In particular, this blended whiskey has a very high proof of ninety two and an aroma that is both peppery and smokey. Meanwhile, the taste is a combination of flural and fruity notes with an undercurrent of smokeyness and smoldering wood. As such, when shotted, this whiskey will be quite intense initially with a noticeable burn but leave a wonderful mix of flavours on the palate.

Compass Great King Street Artist’s Blend

This blended Scotch consists of a ratio of single malt to grain significantly in the favour of the former. As such, it is an excellent whiskey to drink straight whilst still experienceing a myriad of flavours. Additionally, it is also incredibly smooth making it ideal to sip or shot.

In terms of flavour though Compass Great King Street Artist’s Blend is quite a complex myriad of tastes. Each of which is excellently complementary and includes undertones reminiscent of desserts such as vanilla, multiple spices and and baked apple pie.

The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022: 20 Great Choices

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Another excellent example of a blended Scotch comes from one of the three wise men him, Johnnie Walker. Truly, the company’s entire line of Scotch whiskeys are an excellent choice for sipping or shotting. However, their absolute best is of inevitably their most expensive and coveted. That being Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

The reason being that is a blend made only from the best of the best Scotch. The result of which being that is deliciously smooth, balanced and long lasting flavour. In terms of aroma and tastes though, dark chocolate, hazelnut, kumquats, sandalwood, sherry, and hints of pepper and dried tropical fruits come to together to make this silky smooth whiskey one which is rich in flavour.

Bulleit Bourbon 10 Years Old

Back to the bourbons, this whiskey is something truly wonderful that anyone who likes drinking whiskey will be thrilled with. The reason being that this is Bulleit Bourbon is one that has been aged and matured for a decade in charred American white oak barrels. The results of which being a deep russet coloured whiskey that is deep, rich and wonderfully smooth.

Made with a combination of corn, rye and malted barley grains, this bourbon has a distinctly oaky aroma. This then being contrasted by the smokey finish and notes of dried fruits and vanilla. The result of which being a smooth bourbon that when shotted will provide a smokey and wood burn and leave a mix of subtle flavours on your taste buds.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye

This rye whiskey, also contains some malted barley. The result of which being a richly flavorful whiskey that still retains the powerful burn rye whiskeys are known for. Naturally rye whiskies are also known for their peppery aroma, however, with Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye this is paired with fresh dill and dried fruits.

In terms of taste though, the flavour of dark spices including pepper often associated with with rye whiskey is balanced with overtones of caramel along with a dry oaky finish. The result of which being an intense yet smooth shot that will leave a mix of nuance flavours on the palate.

The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022: 20 Great Choices

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

A classic and well known known bourbon is Woodford Reserve Bourbon. This is for good reason as this triple filtered bourbon is double aged in two different types of whiskey barrel. As such, for those new to the world of whiskey drinking, this is a truly excellent choice as it is strong in delicious flavours whilst also being quite smooth.

In terms of aroma this bourbon is quite multifaceted with smells of ried fruit, hints of mint, orange, cocoa, vanilla and tobacco spice. Meanwhile, the tastes are equally rich and complex with notes of citrus, cinnamon and cocoa, toffee, caramel, chocolate and spice. All of which is finished with silky and almost creamy mouthfeel. As such, when shotted, this whiskey will leave and complex set of flavours on your tastes buds.

Westland Peated Whiskey

This American single malt is made predominantly from peated malts and aged for three years in oak casks previously used for bourbon. As such, this whiskey is one that is incredibly smokey in both aroma and flavour.

That said though, the aroma of Westland Peated Whiskey also contains subtle hints of nuts, blood-orange peel, and roasted plantains. Meanwhile the taste and palate also contains coffee, chocolate,  roasted pistachios and various herbs.

Redbreast 12 Years

Distilled by the Middleton brewery in Ireland, this Irish whiskey is something truly special for the palate. The reason for this being the double aging in both American Bourbon barrels to Spanish oloroso sherry casks provide the Irish whiskey with an incredibly distinctive flavour profile and smooth finish,

As a result of it’s extended aging process, the notes of sherry are quite prominent. However, hints of nutmeg and cinnamon are also rather prominent. As such, when shotted, this whiskey will be incredibly smooth and leave a delicious mix of sweet and spicy flavours on the palate.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

This islay single malt Scotch whisky is a truly wonderful example of a bottle to seek out if you enjoy drinking whisky straight. In partiuclar, Laphroaig Quarter Cask is excellently smooth due to being double aged in ex-bourbon barrels along with quarter casks. 

The result of this being a scotch whisky that is complex in flavour and aroma. Primarily though, it will an aroma of smokey peat, coconut and banana. Meanwhile, it’s flavour will a similar smokeyness alongside a subtle sweetness and spice. 

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The Best Mixed Whiskey Shots

Alternatively though, there is also the option of having mixed whiskey or cocktail shots. These, as you can likely imagine being shots which are made from a mix of different drinks, including the best whiskey for shots. Some great examples of these include the following options:

  1. Three Wise Men
  2. Amenie Mama
  3. Duck Fart
  4. Alabama Slammer
  5. California Gold Rush
  6. Irish Slammer (Irish Car Bomb)
  7. Silver Bullet
  8. Wild Wild West
  9. Big Fat Elvis Shooter
  10. Kentucky Hot Tub

Three Wise Men

This whiskey shot is perhaps the truest to the phrase because it contains three different types of whiskey. These aren’t just any types of whiskey. No instead, this shot will contain a mix of whiskies produced by the three wise men, who of course are Jim Beam, Johnnie Walker and Jack Danniels.

Making this cocktail shot is also incredibly simple. To do so, pour fifteen millilitres of each drink into a cocktail shake filled with ice. Then shake well and strain the resulting drink into glasses. The result of which is an incredibly layered shot with diverse flavours from whiskey left on your palate.

Amenie Mama

For a good whiskey cocktail that is delicious and warming in the winter months, Amenie Mama is a great choice. Made with a combination of rye whiskey and amaretto almond liqueur, this shot has a spicy yet sweet and nutty aroma with a slightly dry mouthfeel.

To make it simply measure out and mix a ratio of three to one rye whiskey and amaretto almond liqueur in your shot glass. Following which, you’re ready to drink.

The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022: 20 Great Choices

Duck Fart

Whilst the name of this whiskey-based shot isn’t exactly appetising, the duck fart shot is actually very delicious. Originating from a bored bartender experimenting with new cocktails on a slow night in Alaska, this shot consists of Baileys Irish cream, Whiskey (typically Jameson’s Irish whiskey or a Bourbon will be used) and Kahlua. In particular, this combination was a hit with one woman at the bar who Christened it as the “duck fart”. The name comes from either the drink’s resemblance to duck poop or how it made the woman feel gassy. Either way, the actual drink itself more than makes up for the unpleasant connotations of its name.

To make your own duck farts at home you will need an equal measure of Baileys, Jameson and Kahlua. Around fifteen millilitres of each should do it. First, add the Kahlua, then the Baileys and finally the Jameson. To keep them as separate layers though, it is important to pour the Baileys and Jameson slowly into the glass over the back of a spoon.

Alabama Slammer

This sweet and refreshing shot originates from the University of Alabama in the nineteen seventies and has been consistently popular in the school and beyond since. Containing Southern Comfort Bourbon whiskey, Sloe gin, amaretto and orange juice, this is a perfect shot for drinking during warm barbecues.

To make it simply measure out fifteen millilitres each of the Southern Comfort, Sloe gin and amaretto, along with ten millilitres of orange juice. Following which, pour them into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Then pour into a tall shot glass.

California Gold Rush

For something that is just as sweet and refreshing, but slightly lighter on the alcohol a California Gold Rush is a great choice. Here, the ingredient list is quite small with this mixed whiskey shot consisting of just honey-flavoured whiskey and lime juice. Belle Mead Honey Cask Bourbon in a particular is a great option for making this shot.

To make it, simply mix the two together in a ratio of four to one in favour of the whiskey over ice in a cocktail shaker. Then shake well and pour into glasses. 

The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022: 20 Great Choices

Irish Slammer (Irish Car Bomb)

Whilst often called an Irish car bomb in the United States, in the United Kingdom, Ireland and many other parts of the world, this drink is instead referred to as an Irish Slammer. The reason being the American name for this infamous cocktail is generally seen as being quite offensive. 

Whatever name you wish to call it though, the fundamental ingredients in an Irish slammer are a three-quarter pint of Guinness, thirty millilitres of Irish whiskey and thirty millilitres of Irish cream such as Baileys. To make it add the whiskey and Irish creamy to a shot glass and put that shot glass in the Guinness. Following which, you’re ready to down it. Making it somewhat similar to the idea of a beer and vodka cocktail.

Silver Bullet

This is something of a classic whiskey shot. However, just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, I’d very much argue that it’s a classic for a reason. The reason being that it is a wonderfully layered shot that mixes the complex flavours of Scotch whiskey with those of gin, along with the tartness of lemon.

To make this shot pour twenty-five millilitres of your gin and twenty millilitres of Scotch into a cocktail shaker over ice. Then shake well and strain into a shot glass. Finally, squeeze a lemon twist into the drink.

Wild Wild West

For another mixed whiskey shot that is distinctly quite sweet, a Wild Wild West is a great, great choice. Consisting of Jack Daniels, Peach Schnapps and Cranberry Juice, this cocktail is wonderfully refreshing and sweet. Additionally, as shots go, this is one that will go down very easily whilst still giving you a good buzz.

To make, this whiskey shot, pour forty five millilitres of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Thirty millilitres of Peach Schnapps and sixty millilitres Cranberry Juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Then, shake well and strain into shot glasses.

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Big Fat Elvis Shooter

Now, we all know that Elvis was a legend. Even in his older years when he became known for overindulging his appetite somewhat. With that in mind, this strange but delicious shot incorporates some incredibly rich and unhealthy ingredients into a surprisingly delicious whiskey shot. These include five hundred millilitres of high-quality rye whiskey, a tablespoon of clarified bacon fat, two hundred and fifty millilitres of Amaretto, a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, maple syrup and sea salt. Now, this process is quite elaborate and includes the following steps:

  1. Creating bacon-flavoured whiskey: Place the rye whiskey and clarified bacon fat into a tightly sealed jar and shake well. Leave, this mixture for between four to sixteen hours, depending on how strong you wish to bacon flavour to be. During this process occasionally shake the jar. Once the time has elapsed freeze the whiskey and remove the bacon fat using a mesh strainer.
  2. Infusing Peanut Butter with amaretto: Place your amaretto and peanut butter into a sealable jar. Seal and shake the jar well to combine them. Leave the jar for around half an hour. Then strain the liquid until smooth, the ideal texture being similar to that of Baileys Irish cream.
  3. Assembling the Big Fat Elvis Shooter: Once you have all the ingredients ready it is then time to assemble yourself a Big Fat Elvis Shooter. To do so, first, place a teaspoon of maple syrup at the bottom of your shot glass. Then in a cocktail mixer shake together thirty millilitres of your bacon fat flavoured whiskey and fifteen millilitres of your amaretto-infused peanut butter. Then pour the combination slowly over the syrup and top with some sea salt.

Kentucky Hot Tub

Back to something more simple now, the Kentucky Hot Tub is a whiskey shot that this easy to make. Additionally, it is also a sharp contrast in flavour to the prior option due to how it incorporates the kick of tabasco sauce alongside the flavours of Jim Beam bourbon along with Cointreau orange liqueur and Blue Curacao liqueur.

To make this shot first measure out fifteen millilitres of Jim Beam bourbon whiskey, fifteen millilitres of Cointreau orange liqueur, ten millilitres of Blue Curacao liqueur and between three and six drops of tabasco sauce. Then add them to a cocktail shaker and shake well before pouring them into shot glasses.

Answered: The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022

Now, as shown above, there isn’t one best whiskey for shots in the year twenty-twenty-two. In fact, there are many different whiskey shotting options which include drinking straight whiskey or shot cocktails. With that in mind then, which is ultimately the best option is impossible to say as the matter is entirely subjective. However, based on all the information provided above, you should be able to find the whiskey or whiskey cocktail that is the perfect shot for you.

FAQ – The Best Whiskey for Shots in 2022

What whiskey is good to take shots?

A wide variety of whiskey will taste good in shots. In particular, though, the best shotting whiskies will be quite smooth. As such a good Scotch, bourbon or Irish whiskey that has been aged for at least three years will be excellent. Some examples of such are Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Johnnie Walker.

Is whiskey good for shots?

Typically whiskey will be sipped instead of shotted. However, plenty of people do also enjoy shotting a good whiskey. This being true either straight or as part of a mixed shot cocktail.

What alcohol is best for shots?

A wide variety of drinks can be used for shots. Commonly tequila, whiskey and vodka will be popular choices. As are various different liqueurs.

What is the easiest whiskey to drink straight?

A wide variety of whiskeys can be drunk straight and are in fact intended to be sipped or shotted in this manner. Some of our favourites include Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Westland Peated Whiskey, Redbreast 12 Years, Laphroaig Quarter Cask an Johnnie Walker.