Shot in the Dark Cocktail Recipe

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Shot in the Dark Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Shot in the Dark cocktail is a mysterious and alluring concoction, created by a world-renowned mixologist who wanted to capture the essence of a moonlit night. This drink is perfect for those who enjoy the thrill of the unknown and are drawn to the darker side of life. It is often served at exclusive events and upscale bars, making it a sought-after choice for adventurous drinkers.

  • The name 'Shot in the Dark' is inspired by the idea of taking a chance and embracing the unexpected.
  • The cocktail was first introduced at a prestigious international mixology competition, where it quickly gained popularity.
  • The drink is known for its unique presentation, featuring a dimly lit glass and dramatic garnishes.

How Shot in the Dark Tastes?

The Shot in the Dark has a complex and intriguing taste profile, with a combination of sweet, sour, and bitter notes. The drink is strong and bold, yet smooth and velvety on the palate. The flavors are perfectly balanced, creating a harmonious and unforgettable experience.

Interesting facts about Shot in the Dark

  • The Shot in the Dark is often served during full moon parties, as its mysterious aura complements the moonlit atmosphere.
  • The drink is rumored to have been a favorite of famous authors and poets, who were inspired by its dark and enigmatic nature.
  • The Shot in the Dark has been featured in several films and TV shows, where it is often portrayed as a drink of choice for mysterious and powerful characters.


A few good options for Shot in the Dark are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


The vodka serves as a clean, neutral base that carries the other flavors without overpowering them. 1 oz is just right—enough to pack a punch without turning the shot into a full-blown cocktail. No vodka? Try clear rum for a hints of sweetness or go bold with a grain-based spirit for an extra kick.

Mary Mitkina

Coffee Liqueur

At 0.5 oz, the coffee liqueur adds depth and a touch of sweetness while keeping the coffee tones present but not dominant. Skip it, and you'll lose that mocha charm. An alternative? A splash of actual espresso might do the trick, but it would result in a less sweet profile.

Emma Rose

Cherry Liqueur

The 0.5 oz of cherry liqueur introduces a fruity counterpoint to the bitter coffee, adding complexity. Without it, the cocktail could become one-dimensional. A substitute? A bit of cherry syrup could help but would make the shot sweeter.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

A quarter ounce of lemon juice provides a sharp citrus note, creating a balance among the other rich flavors. Forget the lemon juice, and the drink may feel too heavy. As a twist, lime juice could work, offering a slightly different tang.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

Just a whisper (0.25 oz) sweetens the pot without turning the shot into a dessert. Losing the syrup would mean a sharper, potentially less approachable drink. Agave nectar could be a good stand-in, offering a subtle different sweetness.

Emma Rose

Black Food Coloring

One drop doesn't change the flavor, just gives your Shot in the Dark its namesake allure. It's all about the look with this one—skip it, and you'll lose the visual drama. No coloring? The taste remains, but that 'dark' mystery disappears.

Alex Green


It's all about the chill. No ice means no refreshing temperature drop which is key for a shot. The ice also slightly dilates the flavors during shaking.

Mary Mitkina


Maraschino cherry and lemon twist are not just pretty faces—each adds a hint of its respective flavor and a festive touch. Miss out, and while the taste is mainly there, the final flourish in presentation is gone.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Shot in the Dark Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, coffee liqueur, cherry liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Add a drop of black food coloring to achieve the desired dark hue.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, until well chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled shot glass.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon twist.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy the mysterious allure of the Shot in the Dark.

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to ensure all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Use high-quality vodka for a smoother taste.
  • Chill the shot glass before serving to enhance the flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Coffee-Inspired Desserts

Pair this bold cocktail with a range of coffee-inspired desserts like tiramisu or coffee-flavored chocolate mousse. The coffee liqueur in the Shot in the Dark will resonate with the similar flavors in these sweets.

Savory Snacks

Opt for savory snacks such as spicy nuts or charcuterie boards. The robust flavors of the vodka and liqueurs cut through the richness of cheeses and cured meats, creating a pleasant palate experience.

Dark Chocolate

Bold and simple, dark chocolate squares make for a heavenly match. The bitterness of the chocolate complements the coffee notes and the cherry's sweet undertone.

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What you could change in Shot in the Dark

  • Vodka: Can be substituted with gin or rum.
  • Coffee Liqueur: Can be substituted with chocolate liqueur.
  • Cherry Liqueur: Can be substituted with raspberry liqueur.

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And of course - twists🍹

Espresso Shot in the Dark

Substitute coffee liqueur with high-quality espresso. Increase to 1 oz to match the vodka's intensity.

  • Flavor: This exchange brings a fresh coffee kick, making it ideal for espresso lovers who enjoy a less sweet, more pronounced coffee flavor.

Cherry Bomb

Increase cherry liqueur to 0.75 oz and skip the black food coloring.

  • Flavor: Expect a sweeter, more fruity profile where cherry is the star. It's brighter both in taste and color, a punchier alternative to the original.

Citrus Dark

Opt for 0.5 oz of a citrus-flavored vodka and reduce the lemon juice to just a splash.

  • Flavor: A zesty, more aromatic experience. It's a Shot in the Dark with a fresh twist, perfect for those who like a tangy edge while maintaining the spirit's mysterious nature.

In case you forgot basics how to make Shot in the Dark

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Shot in the Dark

Is 'Shot in the Dark' a good cocktail for beginner drinkers?

Given its complex flavor profile and strength, the 'Shot in the Dark’ cocktail might be more suitable for more experienced drinkers. However, beginners can undoubtedly try it but should be aware of its strong alcohol content.

Can I make the 'Shot in the Dark' cocktail non-alcoholic?

Yes, you can make a non-alcoholic version of the 'Shot in the Dark' by replacing the alcoholic ingredients with non-alcoholic alternatives. You can use non-alcoholic spirits or flavoured syrups instead of the vodka and liqueurs.

What food pairs well with the 'Shot in the Dark' cocktail?

Given its strong and complex flavor profiles, the 'Shot in the Dark' cocktail pairs well with hearty appetizers or desserts, such as dark chocolate or cheesecake, to balance out the cocktail's potent flavors.

What is the origin of the name 'Shot in the Dark'?

The name 'Shot in the Dark' metaphorically represents the daring and adventurous nature of trying new or risk-taking endeavors, much like creating and trying a new cocktail.

What occasions are best suited for serving the 'Shot in the Dark' cocktail?

Given its mysterious and adventurous nature, the 'Shot in the Dark' cocktail is ideal for exclusive events, upscale bars, or themed parties, particularly those held during the nighttime.

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