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11 Layered Shot Recipes and How Exactly to Pour Them

Anybody who’s ordered a round of shots out at a bar knows it’s a mistake — it’s crazy expensive! Yeah, it’s fun to treat your friends and maybe impress some people in the process, but we’d also like to be able to pay rent, thank you very much. If you learn how to pour a perfectly layered shot on your own, however, you can impress everyone from the comfort of home and save about a million dollars, too.

Pouring a layered shot seems intimidating, but is actually pretty easy with a little practice. There’s just one thing you need to understand first.

Liquor density: The critical key to layering shots

Liquor density is essentially the weight of the liquor. In general, sweeter liquors or liqueurs with less alcohol are typically the lightest. Alcohol-laden liquors are the heaviest. The heaviest liquor goes on bottom, with the lightest liquor on top.

More: You Can Now Order Starbucks’ ‘Secret’ Pink Drink Off the Regular Menu

How to layer a shot


  • Liquors
  • Jigger
  • Teaspoon
  • Shot glass


  1. Measure the densest liquor into the jigger, and then pour it into the shot glass.
  2. Measure the next-densest liquor. Place the spoon upside down with the tip inside the shot glass. Slowly pour the liquor over the back of the spoon.
  3. Repeat for any remaining less dense liquors.

With that in mind, it’s time to learn to layer shots and get a few simple recipes to practice with.

layered shots infographic
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

*Note: Pour order does not correspond with color/liqueur layers as shown.

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Originally published March 2016. Updated April 2017.

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